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Fathers play important role after child custody settled

For decades, mothers have usually been granted custody of their children in the resolution of divorce cases. The role of fathers was typically overlooked in family courts because they were assumed to be less fit than the mothers in raising children. As time has gone by, though, fathers have become larger parts of their children's lives. Now Philadelphia fathers can seek shared parenting as part of a child-custody settlement that looks after the best interests of their children.

Recent research has shown that girls who have good relationships with their fathers -- even if they live separately -- are more likely to have good relationships with the men in their lives later in life. It turns out that the absence of a father will negatively affect a daughter's psychological well-being and how she views herself and her relationships.

Lack of access to both parents prevents children from solving problems in a constructive manner, which can affect their emotional well-being. For girls, this means learning to deal with important male figures in their lives.

One study exploring the importance of the father-daughter bond found that girls whose fathers left when they were between ages 5 and 10 years had less chance of developing depression in early adolescence than when compared to those girls whose fathers were absent during the first five years of their life.

Given these studies and other similar research, divorcing parents should consider shared parenting to greatly help shape their daughters' views of men. There is no advantage to anyone in severing the father-daughter bond, and it could make women's relationships much harder later in life.

Before seeking shared parenting, divorcing parents must get cold, hard facts from a legal professional who can suggest the best options for their situation. After considering all of the facts, they can decide whether shared parenting will meet the best interests of their children.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "The father-daughter bond: a dress rehearsal for life," Terry Gaspard, May 23, 2013

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