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fail in high-conflict cases, which include parents who must resort to extensive litigation to
determine child custody arrangements. When the parents are considered high-conflict, joint
custody puts the child’s safety, well-being and best interest in the background and the fairness
between the parents at the forefront of the determination. In those countless cases, it is evident
that parental rights carry drastically more weight than what is actually in the child’s best interest
– at least in the eyes of the court. Parental rights should simply never override a child’s long-term best interest and ability to grow into a well-adapted, contributing, and stable adult.
The push for joint custody and equal parenting originated from the Father’s Rights
Movement. Joint custody opened the door to begin disproving public notions of maternal
superiority. However, joint custody is not in the best interest of the child when parents tend to be
more acrimonious. Unlike most other pieces of work trying to eliminate father’s rights by
encouraging sole custody arrangements, this piece encourages fathers who want to be heavily
involved in the lives of their children to seek sole instead of joint custody.
The problematic disregard for the best interest of the child is compounded by the gender-biased presumptions influencing the court in making its custody decisions. Whether the bias is
forthright or disguised, a preference for mothers in child custody determinations is unjust and
detrimental to the child. Not comprehensively considering all available factors beyond blanket
presumptions of one gender’s capability to rear children versus another places the child in a
dangerous position, where his or her needs may not be most closely met.
In order to more accurately meet the needs of the child and effectively serve his or her
best interest, joint custody arrangements should only be awarded in the rarest and most extreme
cases. Sole custody should most commonly be awarded to one parent and ample visitation should
be awarded to the other parent. This way, the child can establish and continue meaningful bonds