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Child custody issues at the center of courthouse rally

Fathers in Pennsylvania who are living apart from their children may be interested in a rally recently conducted by a few concerned fathers on the steps of a courthouse in another state. These men are trying to do their part to change some state-level regulations on child custody and the access they are given to their children on a regular basis. Even though there have been new laws passed pertaining to child custody issues, these men feel they still have to fight for equal time with their children.

As the divorce rate rose in the early 90s, divorced fathers were not perceived by the courts as the caregivers the children needed. The legal system reflected that, with more agencies created to assist the mothers who were left alone to raise the children. Many fathers feel that they are missing out on so much not having frequent interaction with their children, and they want the court to recognize that they are just as capable of providing the needed care as the mothers. According to a report, around 30 percent of children in this country do not currently live with their fathers.

One man interviewed said he would prefer custody matters to be decided by a jury of his peers as opposed to a judge. In one Illinois county, the judges tend to be younger and support the untraditional approach of shared custody with visitation time and parental responsibilities being equally divided between the two parents. One source claims that the divorce rate is declining, which will eventually decrease the numbers of children who will be separated from their fathers.

There are many statistics from different sources that describe the life of a number of children who grow up without a father in the home. Physical, mental and emotional abuse, teen pregnancy, and a life of crime are just some of the consequences children in a broken home may experience without the guidance of a loving, available father. Pennsylvania fathers in the midst of a child custody dispute may want to speak to a professional when exploring their options.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Divorced fathers rally for greater custody rights", Megan Jones, June 17, 2016

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