Courts cannot discriminate against fathers when awarding custody, but fathers usually receive only 35 percent of custody time on average. There are ways to prepare for a child custody dispute and showing the judge that fathers would be fit parents.
Devotion to the children
Some judges may still act under the assumption that mothers provide better care and supervision of their mothers. Even if this is not the case, it is important for fathers to stay in constant contact with their children. Keep a positive relationship by calling, texting, or using Face Time. Provide help and remain interested in their lives by attending athletic events, concerts, shows, religious events and other activities.
It is also important to talk to the child’s other parent about their school performance and their activities. Keep up to date on their health and academics by staying in direct contact with their teachers and doctors.
It is essential to consistently and timely pay child support. Failure to pay child support shows the court that you want to harm your spouse instead of taking care of your child’s needs.
Keep records of your support payments if you have a non-legal agreement with the child’s mother. Have the other parent enter a written contract. You should also offer to pay for other costs such as extra-curricular activities or other sudden expenses.
Complying with a visitation schedule is also important. Enter a parenting plan with your ex and submit it to the court. This will show that you are willing to work with the other parent and be consistent.
Document any time that the other parent interferes with your visits and get contact information for any witness. A friend or family member who accompanies you during pick-ups and drop-offs can act as a witness.
Dealing with the other parent
Being rude, uncooperative, or disrespectful toward your child’s other parent diminishes your custody chances. Judges can usually see whether a father is seeking custody to spite the other parent. Also, courts will usually deny custody to a father who was an unfit parent when the family lived together.
Fathers who mistreat the other parent also harm their children. The parents’ failure to get along compounds the stress that divorce or separation has on children.
Custody matters may be difficult for either parent. An attorney can help them obtain a custody order that is fair and in the child’s best interest.