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New study supports child custody rights of fathers

Recent research could have a significant impact on custody cases in Maryland and across the nation in which fathers seek more time with their very young children. The research looked at data collected from young people whose parents ended their relationship before the children were 3 years old. The results suggest that dads who keep their children for overnight visits while they are very young have a stronger bond than those who did not have overnight visits with their fathers as part of their child custody agreement.

This goes against what has been the "standard" approach to visitation for many years. What most people (and most courts) believe is that very young children need to have a very strong bond with the primary caregiver, and that overnight visits away from that parent are not ideal. This is based in part on the longstanding assumption that mothers are naturally more suited to care for infants than fathers.

What the researchers discovered is that children who grew up having regular contact with their fathers from a very early age had better relationships with both their mothers and fathers as young adults. That may be because the fathers took on responsibility for providing daily care when the children were babies, creating a stronger bond than had the mothers handled all infant care tasks. As for the mothers, having the child or children spend overnight visits with the father provided a chance for a break from the demands of parenting, which has a number of benefits.

For those in Maryland who are facing a child custody case, this information could be of assistance. That is especially true for fathers who want to remain actively involved in the lives of their children. This and other recent research can be used to support a bid for more visitation, or even shared custody of a very young child.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Sleepovers With Dad Can Be a Win-Win After Divorce", Robert Preidt, Feb. 3, 2017

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