You may have heard people talk about the bias in the courts that may push them toward making child custody decisions that favor one parent over the other. Perhaps this worries you as you move to end your marriage. You do not want to risk losing that important time with your children. It means more to you than any other part of the case.
The good news is that courts are shifting their viewpoint on this, fighting more and more often for children to have equal time with both parents. You need to know that these biases, though they still exist, do not really line up with the child’s best interests. Since that — your children’s best interests — is at the heart of the custody case, you can work to make sure that they still see both of you when the marriage ends.
The benefits to children
As parents, it’s easy to think about the benefits to you: more time with the children you love. And that is important, but it’s not the most important thing to the court. They focus on the children. So, what are the benefits to children of staying involved with both parents? As many scientific research studies show, along with federal statistics, children who grow up with a relationship with two parents tend to:
- Avoid mental and emotional issues like depression and anxiety
- Become teenage parents less often
- Stay out of the prison system and avoid trouble with the law
- Get better grades in school
- Not use illegal drugs or drink before they are legally allowed to do so
- Have successful careers when they grow up and become adults themselves
Do not take this the wrong way. It’s not to say that no child with a single parent can have a successful career or that every child with two involved parents has excellent grades. Clearly, every child and every case is unique.
However, by looking at the data, it is possible for researchers to find general trends. While you have children in both groups who experience these issues, those who have two parents involved in their lives — even when their parents are not married — tend to run into these major issues less often and to see more success overall. You can never predict exactly what the future holds, but you can take steps to give your child the best chance possible.
And that means staying involved even after your marriage is over.
Remember, though this is how the courts tend to look at modern child custody cases, that’s not to say that the older biases are entirely gone. Make sure you are well aware of your parental rights and the legal options you have.