No longer do we necessarily see Dads relegated to, for lack of a better word, the second class parent. Researchers have determined that fathers are incredibly important in the lives of their children and the courts are often awarding 50% of parenting time with Dad, too.
It used to be that Dads were left to being “Disneyland Dads”. This was an old child custody arrangement that basically gave the Dad every other weekend to do something with his children. That is not how it works anymore in child custody issues.
There’s a lot of research coming out about the importance of fathers in the lives of their children and the research shows that the children need to have time with their fathers on a regular basis. They need to be at their Dad’s house after school and doing homework and going to bed and brushing their teeth and doing chores and getting up for school and getting their clarinet or field trip permission slips and having Dad take the kids to soccer or basketball practice – that kids really need that kind of regular ongoing relationship with their father. And the courts now understand that and rule accordingly.
Unless one parent is a domestic violence perpetrator or dangerous to themselves or others, the divorce courts are probably going to give each parent a lot of time with their children and it’s going to be up to you to come up with a parenting plan that works for both of you – if you go to settlement. If you can’t settle your case, a King County family law judge will decide for you and you and your ex-spouse will have to live with the results. Settlements that involve good parenting plans are a better way to go.