July 10, 2004

UK Dads Fight For Shared Custody--Without Flourbombs

It may be obvious to UK readers, but I can't quite tell the what the status quo is. From this Guardian article, it sounds like divorced parents--'weekend dads,' as the headline says--get visitation for two weekends a month, period, as a matter of course. Notwithstanding the goofballs pelting Tony Blair with flourbombs, political parties on various sides are apparently mobilizing for increased use of "shared parenting" rights, with more joint custody.

Does any of this make sense?


The every other weekend thing for dads (and the few mom's who are non custodial parents) really stinks. In NY State, the laws regarding divorce are horribly backwards. If one parent fights joint custody, then you have a full blown custody battle. And the parent with custody pretty much decides how often the non custodial parent will see the children. The standard visitation schedule for most kids in NY is every other weekend (returning Sundays at 7pm) and one afternoon a week from 3pm to 7pm. Most of us in this position can go on and on about how unfair this is and how incredibly difficult it is to get anyone who isn't divorced on this end of things to appreciate how awful it is not to get to see your kids any more than 4 overnights a month.

Sheesh, that is unbelievable. And here I am criticizing England, when my own state's laws are the same.

I guess the questions are, what has to be done to get this kind of throwback law changed, and where are the states that actually provide for the situation where parents share the childraising more equally?

You can google the state laws, but there are some great websites to visit for people who are in this situation. In particular, deltabravo.net has a bunch of links and helpful information as well as links to activists.

It's pretty non-custodial father heavy, but it's so much more common that this happens to fathers than mothers.

The NY State laws claim that the legal system is not gender biased, but ALL anecdotal evidence points to the contrary.

The wisest thing to do, of course, is to choose who you have children with wisely and discuss worse case scenarios before they happen. It's so much more important than any prenup anyone could draft and hardly ever discussed.

The largest problem you'll see when researching this topic is that fathers rights groups have been badly represented by feminist groups as though the two are antithetical.

I'm pretty fascinated by this topic and have written letters in support of Shared Parenting bills in NY State.

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