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Co-parenting is vital to a child's success

Many in Nebraska are realizing that family law needs to be reformed. According to one citizen in the state, the single largest cause of fatherlessness is judges. Children who grow up in homes where their father is not present can be seriously affected -- and not positively.

Many judges continue to stand by the outdated parenting time agreement of two weekends a month. Some of the impacts that an absent father can have on a child include:

  • More likely to use alcohol and drugs
  • More likely to have long-term mental health problems
  • More likely to have long-term physical problems
  • More likely to live shorter lives
  • More likely to engage in delinquency behavior
  • More likely to attain lower levels of education

Shared parenting arrangements have been shown time and time again to give children of any age better health physically, behaviorally and emotionally. Even children of those parents who continuously fight can have strong relationships with each parent.

Some positive changes have been taking place, though. In November of last year, the Nebraska Court of Appeals ordered a judge to use a parenting plan that was "a week-on/week-off." The appeals court held that "modifying custody to a week on/week off parenting schedule is in the children's best interests."

There are problems with parenting plans that only allow fathers to have every other weekend. This type of parenting plan doesn't even give the father half of the minimum time that is recommended.

Some rulings by the Court of Appeals, though, have maintained the every-other-weekend parenting plans; three times in the last two months to be exact. This included giving every-other-weekend to a father that lived about a mile from where the child's mother lived.

What can be done to help noncustodial parents -- often fathers -- get more time with their children? First, the state needs to be collecting and publishing data on parenting time.

Second, those judges who continuously make decisions on parenting time that can be considered defective or biased should not be allowed to hear child custody cases.

Finally, the state of Nebraska needs to adopt guidelines for parenting time that are based on the best research available and direct the judges to implement those guidelines.

If you are fighting for a parenting time agreement that gives you equal time with your children, an attorney can provide more information and guidance.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Local View: Uneven progress on family law reform," Ray Keiser, accessed April 06, 2018

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