Summary in Divorce
Judges do not set out to deny fathers their rights in child custody cases, but noncustodial fathers very often come to believe they are unfairly treated, particularly when custodial mothers move the children beyond easy visitation.
Courts in most jurisdictions award at least physical custody of children to the mother unless she is grossly incompetent. Problems happen when she relocates, with the approval of the courts, and the children now live far from the noncustodial father. Desperate fathers sometimes kidnap children, and divorced spouses accuse each other of parental alienation. What is called "fathersí rights" is movement in the service of the idea that custody decisions should not discriminate against fathers. Support groups, including Fathers for Equal Rights in Miami and Fathers Are Forever in California, provide support for fathers who feel unfairly treated by the legal system. It is easy to see why fathers who are noncustodial parents may believe they are victims of divorce. A good parenting plan, which allows for frequent visits, is a way of heading off this problem.
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