Leave for dads can help promote father’s rights

Father’s rights are a complex issue. During a divorce, many judges in the St. Louis area probably still feel that raising children is “women’s work.” This can lead to the presumption that when it comes to custody matters, a mother will receive the custody of the children. For fathers, this can mean they must fight to obtain shared custody.

And in some ways, the issue extends far beyond a Missouri family court, to other matters. One writer argues that providing better family leave benefits for fathers would help improve the perception of fathers as caregivers. Many fathers have little or no leave from work when their children are born, and so may not work very hard to become fully capable caregivers.

If they can only afford a week or so away from work, they may find it easier to simply hand the child to the mother when the baby becomes difficult or irritated. This allows the perception to remain that women are better at raising children. In fact, women often become skilled at this, not because of natural instincts, but because they have no other choice while some are never successful.

Many fathers wish to become fully integrated into the raising of their children, especially after a divorce when they could be faced with becoming a part-time dad with limited and intermittent contact.

For fathers who want to remain involved with their children during and after a divorce, it is important to work with your attorney to assemble a thoughtful and workable parenting plan that will allow you to see your children regularly and not merely a few times a month.

Source:, “Paid Leave for Dads: A Feminist Issue,” Gillian B. White, November 29, 2015

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