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Comment on men’s rights advocates (MRAs)

I have seen a growing number of male family litigants having views consistent with a movement known as the men’s right movement.  These men typically want shared custody at a minimum and will not settle for anything less.  At a general level, they feel that family law is unfairly tilted toward women, that lawyers and judges are sometimes corrupt or lazy and thus will not listen to their concerns, and they seem to take an adversarial stance as against their former partner.

In my experience, shared custody is certainly a possibility in many, but certainly not all situations.  The problem with many of the men’s rights proponents is that they adversarial stance that they take usually negates their chances of being successful.  The best way to move towards shared custody is by limiting conflict and by being as amicable as possible.  Mediation and/or judicial dispute resolution is a much better avenue to achieve shared custody than a trial.  With that said, it is my opinion that many judges, particularly newer appointees are very open to shared custody in most situations, provided that both parents are reasonably competent, and they live reasonably close together so as to make a week-on, week-off rotation work for a child.  While in some circumstances, shared custody may be inappropriate where there is a situation of high conflict, some judges may view shared custody as a means of diffusing the conflict.

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