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Kids and dads fare better in joint custody agreements

You did not treat the decision to end your marriage lightly. As a father, you know that getting divorced will mean spending less time with your children, which can be disheartening. What you might not have considered is evidence that divorce can actually make some men become better fathers. Even if you do your best to stay involved in your child's life, securing joint custody could greatly improve your father-child relationship.

Joint custody could feel more like an out-of-reach fantasy than the reality that it is. A lot of people in Colorado still think that women are better at caring for children. Even though family law courts now acknowledge just how important dads are, the idea that mothers always get primary custody just will not go away.

How does divorce affect children?

Divorce is an emotional process for parents and children alike. It is important to acknowledge how divorce affects children because ignoring this very real effect means that you cannot address any problems. For example, kids of divorced parents may experience the following:

  • Lower future earnings
  • Increased risky sexual behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem

You could help your child avoid some of these problems by doing just one thing -- being there more often. After looking over data about children with divorced parents, one researched concluded that divorce might not even be the reason behind these behaviors. Instead, high marital conflict and father alienation after divorce are much bigger contributing factors. He determined that kids should spend at least 35% of their time with dads. Other studies found that, regardless of age, kids are better off when they regularly stay overnight with their dads.

Are dads really better parents after divorce?

No two families are alike, and many parents do not strictly stick to traditional parenting roles. However, many more still end up into stereotypical mother and father roles simply because society expects them to do so. This means moms generally take over most child rearing duties, such as doing feedings in the middle of the night, staying in contact with teachers and managing extracurricular activities. Dads end up living more on the outside of their children's lives even when they desperately want to be more involved.

For these dads, going for joint custody can be scary. They often question whether they are even qualified to care for their children. The good news is that dads might be unsure when taking on more parenting responsibilities, but they quickly realize that they are completely capable of being caregivers even without constant directions from their ex-spouses.

Joint custody benefits you and your child

Spending time with your child is important to you, but it is likely also in his or her best interests. When parents share joint custody, their children generally perform better at school and have overall stronger family bonds. By comparison, kids who primarily see their dads only on the weekends regard them more like uncles than father figures.

Your parental rights are not less important than your ex's. This means that settling for a custody agreement that is less than ideal is not an option, especially if it is not in your child's best interests. To learn more about your rights as a father and how you can get joint custody, you should speak to a Colorado attorney. Working with someone who is experienced in family law can create more options for getting the best possible child custody agreement.

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