Many fathers are reluctant to fight for joint custody of young children when divorcing out of a well-intentioned, but mistaken, assumption that kids need to be with their mothers in order to thrive. However, recent studies have shown that it is best for children, even infants and toddlers, to maintain a relationship with both parents. Fathers who are divorcing in North Carolina may want to keep this in mind when fighting for custody.
Children who are raised in joint custodial arrangements statistically perform better in school, have less physical and emotional problems and have less behavioral issues than children who are placed in their mother's sole custody. While many people assume that young children most need a relationship with their mother, the findings of these studies show that fathers play a vital role as well.
Unfortunately, when mothers have sole custody, the children's relationship with the noncustodial father often suffers. Only about a third of children visit their fathers at least once a month after a divorce. Although this lack of contact is sometimes due to the deficiencies in the custody order, some mothers deliberately sabotage the father's relationship by making visitation difficult or by alienating the children.
Most fathers wish to spare their children the pain of a contentious custody battle. In the long run, however, the value of maintaining a relationship with the kids outweighs the damage that may result from a bitter custody fight. A father who suspects their former spouse is deliberately undermining their relationship with their children may want to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help look out for the children's best interests.