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Will the tender years doctrine apply in my custody case?

The way that parents choose to tackle the challenging job of raising kids looks different from household to household. While some Arizona parents may choose to divide and conquer the responsibilities by having one parent work out of the home and the other manage the household, others may elect to have both parents work out of the home to better provide for their families. When divorce affects a family, though, raising children gets even more complicated.

In the past, it was common for some courts to follow what has become known as the "tender years" doctrine. This theory presumed that children of a young age would be better served if, in the event of a custody matter, they were placed in the homes of their mothers. It was based upon the idea that mothers are generally the caretakers of children and therefore are more equipped to address children's needs.

Modern parents know, however, that this presumption is outdated. Fathers play a critical role in the care of their kids and should be allowed an equal chance at demonstrating their fitness to be custodial parents in the lives of their children. Because of this, courts now generally look to protect the best interests of the children in individual custody cases to decide how their custody should be established.

Fathers who are subject to child custody hearings and negotiations have the right to fight for time with their children. Their family law attorneys can counsel them on case-specific strategies that should help them demonstrate the important roles that they play in caring for and raising their kids.

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