Divorce can be as complex as it can be simple. Prior to 1780, divorce was extremely rare because legislative action was required and was time consuming and costly. Once Massachusetts first allowed judicial divorce in 1780, however, it became far more common. In modern society, salespeople, optometrists, podiatrists, nuclear engineers, and agricultural engineers are most likely to divorce, and February is the month with the most divorce filings. Couples dissolve marriages frequently and along a wide spectrum of complexity. There are a number of factors that can take a divorce from simple to complicated, but perhaps the factor causing the most complication is the presence of children.
The mean age of women for their first divorces is 29 years old, indicating that at many women seeking divorce are of childbearing age. Many couples dissolving their marriages do need to reach conclusions about custody, visitation rights, and child support. Out of these issues has arisen the fathers rights movement. Members are usually fathers who are interested in sharing the parenting of their children equally with their children’s mother. Family law attorneys will sometimes specialize in fathers rights, and there are even some dedicated attorneys for fathers rights.
Attorneys for fathers rights typically make the argument that children need two parents and have a fundamental human right to a relationship with both parents. They seek to obtain evenly shared custody after divorce or separation, pointing to studies that show reduced rates of low academic achievement, crime, pregnancy, substance abuse, depression, and suicide in children in shared custody settings.
Some conflict has developed around the fathers rights movement in the form of questions of motive and advisability. Some suggest that since shared custody arrangements result in decreases or termination of child support payments, proponents of fathers rights might be harboring ulterior motives. Others point out that if there is conflict between the parents, shared custody could in fact be psychologically detrimental. There has also been criticism that the movement perpetuates negative stereotypes that women are deceptive, vindictive, irresponsible, and out to take financial advantage of men.
Still, attorneys for fathers rights maintain that fathers are discriminated against because of gender bias in family law and that shared parenting is best for all involved in a custody battle. Learn more: St. louis divorce attorney