For fathers, divorce can pose a set of unique concerns. These men often worry about how often they will see their children or whether they will be able to effectively parent without the help of their soon-to-be exes. Despite these worries, fathers in West Virginia and across the rest of the country are coming to a surprising conclusion — sharing joint custody may make them better fathers.

The role of fatherhood is changing in today’s society. Social scientists are beginning to argue that the idea of an unengaged, weekends-only dad who would rather spend time with his various girlfriends is not only inaccurate but is a product of unfair custody agreements. According to these scientists, both fathers and children have been starved of important relationships because of long-held beliefs that regarded mothers as better at raising children.

Now, fewer men are content with seeing their children only on alternating weekends or school breaks. Fathers are now more likely to share joint custody and take on more active parenting roles, which can be difficult at first. Some dads say they were used to relying on their ex-spouses in regards to parenting, but given the opportunity, these men usually find that their dad instincts kick in quickly. While their marriages may have ended, these men say they end up being better dads.

This does not mean that fathers’ relationships with their children will immediately improve after divorce, but it does indicate that there is plenty of potential. However, for fathers to even have the opportunity to take on more parenting responsibilities, they have to first secure sufficient parenting time. While West Virginia dads might be more likely than those in past generations to secure joint custody, it is still best to not leave these things up to chance. Seeking guidance from an experienced counsel when dealing with child custody matters could be extremely helpful for fathers who are prepared to protect their parenting time.