Part One of Three
In the past, when a couple divorced,it was customary for custody to be given to the mothers with fathers usually having custody of their children every other weekend and one day during the week . One father in Arizona feels this customary practice is unfair and has been fighting to have custody laws changed in Arizona.
Mike Espinoza, a 41-year-old father of two sons, said that he could really care less about “dad’s rights or mom’s rights”, but that when you look at the research and the effect it has on children, how could anyone not take note of that, and added that it is time for equal time and equal custody.”
Mr. Espinoza has been working with Arizona state lawmakers, judges, lawyers, university researchers and activists over the past three years to change Arizona divorce and custody laws. He has already been successful in 2010 in pushing change to the wording in one Arizona law, as the law now states that, unless there is evidence of drug use or a history of addiction treatment, it is in the child’s best interest to have “substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents.”
Next January, another law he helped pass, will go into effect. This law further encourages joint parenting, including requiring the court to adopt a plan that “maximizes” the children spending time with both parents and forbids the court from giving one parent preference based on the parent’s or the child’s gender. In reference to this bill, Espinoza stated that “it’s equal’; a child deserves to have both parents.”
To be continued.