Divorce and family law have always been overshadowed by myths and half-truths. From exaggerated stories depicted in the media to divorced individuals who misrepresent their circumstances to elicit sympathy or pity from others, there are many sources of misinformation regarding divorce. Unfortunately, some people will listen to that misinformation and let their inaccurate beliefs guide the decisions that they make during a divorce.
For example, many fathers will hear from others online that the court system is inherently biased against fathers and men and that there’s no point in seeking custody because the woman will always receive it. However, research does not bear out that perspective.
The New York laws on child custody and divorce are gender-neutral, which means that the courts don’t give preference to one parent over the other based on gender. Instead, they wish for both parents to have equal parental rights and seek custody solutions that are in the best interest of the children.
Custody statistics may seem skewed because men don’t always ask for it
Divorce is a difficult time, and many people experience depression or other negative mental health consequences from the end of their marriage. A combination of misinformation and depression may prompt some men into thinking that there is no point in asserting their parental rights and trying to protect the relationship with their children. Why waste money if the courts will have an innate bias against them because of their gender?
Failing to ask for shared custody may be one of the most common reasons why men don’t get fully shared custody. Most of the time, only serious issues, such as unavailability due to their profession, documented mental health issues, or a history of abuse and neglect, will leave the courts to limit one parent’s rights when compared with the other. Otherwise, the goal is usually a fair parenting plan that allocates rights and responsibilities to both parents.
Fathers play a critical role in the lives of their children. A positive male role model can be invaluable for young boys, and the love and guidance of a father can help a young girl establish healthy expectations for her future relationships and stronger self-esteem. Standing up and asking for your parental rights can help ensure you have a positive impact on the lives of your children.