Parents in Pennsylvania who are considering separation or divorce are often concerned about child custody and visitation issues. Historically, mothers typically assume primary physical custody of their children while the father has visitation rights. Some experts and parents have noted, however, that this practice has not kept up with the changing roles of men and women in society.
Many of the assumptions behind the traditional system rest on gender stereotypes. Mothers are assigned the role of homemaker and caretaker while the father is perceived as the financial provider. This does not reflect the reality, however, as most women now work and have careers of their own. In addition, it does not acknowledge the importance that fathers have in the lives of their children.
In fact, the presumption that the mother should have primary physical custody may actually have a detrimental effect on a woman’s personal finances. If a divorced mother is returning to the workforce after taking time off to raise young children, she is already at a disadvantage. Forcing her to take on the responsibilities of full-time single parenthood is only going to make it more difficult for her to advance in her career.
By sharing physical custody with the father, both parents have the opportunity to care for their children while also having the time to focus on their careers and rebuilding financially. Many studies have also shown that children benefit from having strong relationships with both parents, something that is best achieved when there is an equitable division of parenting time.
Parents who are concerned about child custody issues may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client’s case and make recommendations regarding custody issues as well as child support.