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Don't be shy, dad, about asserting those parental prerogatives

Say that you're a good Massachusetts father. A workable definition of that might be a conscientious and caring dad who strives to remain on civil terms with your former spouse or soon-to-be ex and makes strong efforts to routinely promote the best interests of your children.

And now you're about to visit the subject of post-divorce parenting arrangements in court, and you're a veritable mess just thinking about the outcome. You just know that the judge is going to discount your abilities as a parent because you're a man and demonstrate a clear custody bias in favor of your children's mother because, well, she's a woman, right? In your mind, it's a done deal that mom is going to exit the court with sole custody and that you are going to have limited visitation rights.

Here's what you need to do: Hit this deep link to a fathers' rights article on exercising parental rights. Read it, and then repeat this mantra a few times: It's no longer the 1960s.

In fact, it's 2016, which marks this reality: Legions of households in Massachusetts and nationally are now headed by single dads. Additionally, many millions of ex-partners now work together following divorce in a shared manner marked by a joint parenting arrangement.

It's all about the best interests of the kids, and there is strong agreement these days among family law professionals and virtually all persons who work with children that shared parenting is optimal for children's welfare in most instances. As the above-cited article notes, Massachusetts and other states now broadly recognize that "the best interests of the child are served when both parents remain solidly connected with their children's lives."

So, dad, don't cower when it comes to asserting your parental rights. Step up to the plate and resolutely state a very simple fact, namely, that you just want to be a truly involved father.

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