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Parental discretion might be useful for child custody agreements

Divorce can be a difficult transition for New York children to make, and, though their best interests should always be priorities, it is very important to consider their interests when making parenting-time decisions. Most children tend to thrive in situations in which they have they have equal access to both parents, but, in light of the recent holiday -- Father's Day -- many people are pointing out that typical child custody arrangements do not always allow for equal access. Research has indicated that these arrangements might be a bad idea not only for the kids but also for the parents.

When one parent is granted primary custody, the non-custodial parent often suffers a drastic loss in parenting time. One study revealed that non-custodial parents only have access to their children somewhere from 14 to 20 percent of the time. A prominent sociologist noted that these parents tend to be seen as entertainers rather than as involved parents, and, ultimately, the relationship between the parent and child tends to deteriorate over time.

Parents also suffer when parenting time is awarded mainly to one parent. Non-custodial parents tend to be fathers, and they have a suicide rate eight times higher than their non-divorced peers. Many attribute this to them suddenly being forced to go from being full-time parents to rarely seeing their children. Custodial parents -- typically the mothers -- also must take on the burden of providing virtually all of their children's needs. This can make maintaining gainful employment difficult and, ultimately, reduce overall income, plunging some families into poverty.

Although historically speaking, mothers did tend to be caregivers while fathers worked, society has advanced far past those roles. However, family law in New York has not necessarily caught up with the changing times, which leaves many parents nearly left out of the post-divorce picture. While divorcing parents can utilize a judge's help when it comes to child custody, many parents can, instead, figure out a beneficial custody arrangement alongside their attorneys, and then have a judge approve it. Taking this approach allows those who know the children best -- the parents -- to put that knowledge to good use when determining which arrangements are in the children's best interest.

Source:, "Divorced fathers deserve time with children", Robert Franklin, June 19, 2015

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