Children want and need both of their parents, but historically child custody has been handled in the courts in such a way as to make the parents adversaries. This creates a situation in which one parent wins and the other parent loses. Despite the court's intention of protecting the child's best interests, the win-or-lose approach too often greatly limits a loving and capable parent's time with the child.
Of course, there are cases where the child should definitely be in the physical and legal custody of one parent and not the other, but that is not true in every instance. To ensure that their rights are protected and that their child's well-being overrides all other concerns, parents should have a legal representative who understands what is at stake.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Justice Department and the Census Bureau, children who were raised in single-parent households make up 85 percent of prison inmates, 85 percent of children with behavioral disorders, and 95 percent of children who are homeless or have run away.
The Census Bureau also reports that 35 percent of children in the U.S. are raised in homes where the parents no longer live together.
Discussing these statistics is in no way meant to say that a child raised in a single-parent household will automatically have these kinds of troubles. The point, rather, is to emphasize the importance of protecting children's best interests by doing what we can to ensure that both parents have an opportunity to be parents.
To learn more about your options for creating a good parenting plan in Florida, please see our overview of how a parenting coordinator can help.