Intelligence Report

Contributors: Lyric Wallwork Winik and Sharon Male
Published: July 6, 2008

Are Divorce Courts Anti-Dad?
Despite a shift toward shared custody over the last 20 years, up to half of fathers lose contact with their kids after a divorce. “In 85% of divorces, fathers get just two weekends a month and a couple of hours during the week,” says Mike McCormick of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.

A new legal trend might change that. With “proportional time,” explains Jennifer Rosato of Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Law, “the custody decision is based on the time dads spent with their children before the divorce, rather than presuming that dads have, and want, limited involvement with their kids.” But McCormick says dads still could get shortchanged: “What happened in the past with a family doesn’t represent what will happen in the future.” He says that supporting your kids is about more than money, “but courts want a check first and a relationship second.”