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Depictions of noncustodial parents are often misleading

31002607_S.jpgNoncustodial parents in Boone County, MO, and around the country are often portrayed by the media as either deadbeat dads who do not pay child support or uncaring fathers who put their careers ahead of their children. While such depictions may be appropriate for some noncustodial parents, they are largely based on pervasive myths. The majority of noncustodial parents care greatly about their children and relish the time they are able to spend with them.

The deadbeat dad stereotype is especially pernicious. Most noncustodial parents who are expected to make child support payments do so conscientiously. Many of these parents are struggling to make ends meet themselves, but they willingly make sacrifices to see that their children are properly cared for.

Another persistent noncustodial parent myth is that single custody is awarded because one of the parents involved is either unsuitable or uninterested. Many parents who surrender custody do because they were faced with choosing between spending quality time with their children or earning enough to ensure that their needs are seen to. These decisions can be very difficult to make, and they should be viewed with sympathy rather than scorn.

Bitter custody battles can leave the children of divorce emotionally traumatized, which is why experienced family law attorneys may seek to resolve these issues amicably whenever possible. This can be difficult because traditional divorce negotiations are adversarial in nature. When an agreement cannot be reached and a protracted court battle seems likely, attorneys may suggest exploring other approaches such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Attorneys might also recommend alternatives to court when the situations of parents change and child custody, support or visitation arrangements are revisited.

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