When it comes to the evolution of shared parenting, Minnesota has been a leader for change. It is one of a few states that have enacted custody laws aimed at ensuring both parents take a role in raising their children after a divorce. Research has shown that a child benefits from having meaningful connections and relationships with both parents.
However, there is some skepticism regarding changes to state child custody laws that has been expressed by some feminist organizations and bar associations. Those who are in favor of shared parenting laws believe that other states will follow suit and make it a more mainstream model for how children are raised after a divorce. Proponents point to the Arizona law as a model that may be worth adopting throughout the country. It is deemed to be desirable because its focus is not just on custody and visitation matters.
What the Arizona model does is focus on equitable parenting regardless of how much time a parent may actually spend with the child. In Missouri, neither the gender of a parent nor the age of a child is allowed to be used as factors in child custody matters. This may help fathers obtain the parental rights they deserve based on their ability to provide for a son or daughter as opposed to vague stereotypes about gender roles.
In any child custody case, the best interests of the child are a top priority. Therefore, parents who believe that they deserve increased rights based on their ability to care for their sons or daughters may wish to consult with an attorney. Legal counsel may use existing state law to help a mother or father maintain relationships with their children even if the relationship with the other parent has come to an end.