Custody X Change recently conducted a study aimed at determining which states offer dads the best chance of acquiring shared custody post-divorce. Its researchers found that Florida is one of few states where fathers routinely are awarded 50 percent custody. Other states that offer dads the best chance of acquiring shared parenting time include Delaware, Massachusetts, Nevada and Colorado.
The researchers found that some of the states that seem least concerned about father’s rights include Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Illinois. At just 22 percent, children in Tennessee spend the least amount of time with their dads. On a national level, they found that dads generally are awarded 35 percent custody of their child.
A representative with the Brevard County Fathers’ Rights Movement notes that despite the researchers’ findings, many dads that have found their group have done so after being treated unfairly by family courts in the state.
The head of the organization suggests that this inequitable treatment of dads is often perpetuated by the court system’s guardian ad litem program or the Department of Children and Families (DCF). He contends that both often purposefully pit one party against another in an effort to drag cases out and generate more fees necessary to support their existence.
Despite this leader and his members’ experiences, the chief judge over Seminole and Brevard counties notes that he and his colleagues are sworn in to make choices that are in a child’s best interest.
He notes that many Florida counties have increased investment in resources aimed at protecting father’s rights. He says that he has witnessed as employers have become more flexible in scheduling dads so that they can enjoy parenting time as well.
While a father’s rights to joint custody may appear to be improving in Florida, there are many different factors that a judge will take into account to ensure that parenting time agreements are in a minor’s best interest. A Fort Myers child custody attorney will want to know more about your living arrangements and job among other factors before advising your right to obtain increased parenting time with your son or daughter.