Last Updated on August 11, 2023 @ 8:30 am

Win Your Father's Rights Custody Battle

Father’s going through a divorce or child custody fight can be a very difficult process and the frustration and emotional aspect of this type of legal battle is only exasperated because the custody of children is one of the biggest concerns of any parent. Historically, when deciding child custody cases, most courts have always leaned toward favoring the mother as the parent that should have primary physical custody of the child. This was based on a now outdated theory known as the “tender year’s doctrine.” But now, virtually every state currently has laws on the books specifically stating that fathers and mothers should be treated as though they are equal. However, just because the laws have been partially re-written, does not necessarily mean that all judges still don’t have a bias in favor of the mother – so dad’s have an uphill battle and must be extra vigilant in their fight.

As gender roles have increasingly shifted, more and more fathers are seeking custody of their children – and winning. Some lawyers are now identifying themselves as “father’s rights specialists” and here are their top tips to help fathers win their child custody battles. Keep in mind that the court will make a decision based on what the judge believes is in the child’s best interests, not necessarily what either parent may want. Knowing what the “child’s best interests” standard entails is essential to proving your case.

Tips To Win Your Father’s Rights Case

1. Try to Negotiate

Before going to court for a lengthy and expensive custody battle, fathers will want to consider sitting down with the mother of the child and try to negotiate a parenting agreement or parenting plan (also known as a custody judgment or allocation judgment, depending on the state). By coming to an agreement, which needs to include custody arrangements, visitation (also known as parenting time), decision making (such as education, religion, extracurricular activities, and health issues), and other factors, it can help both parents avoid the costs, frustrations and emotional stress that going to court can bring and help to create a co-parenting environment for the child or children to thrive in.

A parenting agreement is always the end goal of all custody battles and courts normally insist on one being entered before concluding the custody issues of a family law case. Negotiating might even involve the process of mediation. This would take place in a mediators office and the mediators job is to get the two parties to come to some type of agreement by making each parent give a little. Other times negotiating a positive outcome might involve using a specialist known as a “parenting coordinator.” A parenting coordinator is an individual, normally lawyer (but not always), that helps parents on the small issues that pop up that cause parents to go off track. By settling the small issues in real-time, the goal is that the parents begin working together in a more cooperative manner.

2. Be Present

Father’s rights lawyers suggest becoming a bit of a “helicopter” parent by being there for the child or children in abundance. This may be things as simple as picking them up from school or daycare on a regular basis, attending all school or parent/teacher meetings, attending doctor appointments, sports games and so on. The idea is to make the people also involved in the child’s life – teachers, caregivers, coaches and doctors – aware that the father is around and involved. A father can never spend too much time with his child. This shows the court that the father is an integral person in the child’s life as well as showing that the father has made and will continue to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to be an involved parent. So coach your child’s tee-ball team, tell your boss that you need to be present for the school concert, and make sure that you know your kids doctors names and that they know you.

3. Use Earning Power

Men as a group have (on average) higher earning power than women in the current economy and fathers can use this to their advantage when trying to win custody of their child. Fathers should make sure it is clear to the court that they do earn more income which will make them a better provider of resources than the mother of the child. This needs to be balanced though – attacking someone for not earning as much as you is very different than pointing out that you are able to provide financial stability for your child – do not resort to rubbing it in or attacking your ex! While flexing a financial arm may not feel good, it will definitely make a stronger case – money talks.

Take for example one parent who earns just enough to afford a small apartment and relies on government assistance for things like insurance (Medicaid or a child medical card) or even food stamps. Contrast that with a parent who can easily afford a comfortable home, nice clothes for the child and a safe neighborhood with good schools. Which parent do you think a family court judge will believe can provide a better standard of living for the child? Go out there, make some money, save, and provide a great life for your family – and then show the judge that you do it to better your child’s life.

4. Get Good References

In addition to establishing financial stability, fathers will also want to establish they are a good parent through the eyes of others (see number 2 above!). Fathers should ask their friends, family members, and coworkers to write affidavits about them explaining their personality and expressing what a great parent they are. If the father is at all involved in a church or volunteer program, having affidavits from those colleagues will be an added benefit to the case. When a judge has the choice between which parent to believe and one parent has nothing but their word, and the other parent has a list of affidavits and potential witnesses ranging from coworkers, teachers, coaches, neighbors, or church leaders, which parent do you think the judge will believe? And when a judge won’t take affidavits, testimony from people with a good reputation in the community or who have made a good impression on a (possible) court-appointed child representative, will influence his/her recommendation to the judge as well.

5. Getting Remarried is a Positive

Don’t do this solely as an attempt to win your case, but if you have a mistaken belief that you should not marry your new significant other because it will hurt your case, you should throw that idea out immediately. Even though the biological parents may be divorced or may have never been married to begin with, the courts will consider a new wife in a man’s life to be mother figures and having both a “mother” and father in the household is generally thought to be in the best interests of the child. This relates to #3 (above) – stability of the family unit is key and should provide the judge with a feeling that your life is stable and has roots. Should you get remarried, having a wife, especially if your new wife is one that stays at home to help take care of the child or is active in assisting in all aspect of your child’s life, will definitely help the case. But again, as everything here, be cautious. Having your child call their step-mother “mom” is usually a big no-no in the eyes of the judge and a step-mom that may be employed and not a stay at home parent is absolutely 100% acceptable too. It all comes down to stability and reputation.

So, What Now?

Get started now – you can’t possibly begin to start establishing the fact that you are a great parent soon enough. With these great tips, you should be on your way to preparing for your father’s rights custody case. However, it is also important that you understand that there are many other factors that go into obtaining custody or at least the visitation schedule and parenting time rights you deserve as a father – especially if you are a father that was never married to the mother of your child. Knowing what goes in to increasing parenting time and visitation as a backup to shared or primary custody is also important and should not be overlooked. Working with an experienced father’s rights attorney is essential to winning you case – but it takes you doing the right thing first!

What You Should Know About Child Custody and Visitation as an Unmarried Father

Biological parents that are separated either as a result of a divorce or who have broken-up with the mother of their child, have the right to seek custody and/or visitation and parenting time for the children they share. The court will always rule in favor of what is best for the child when there is a dispute over custody or visitation between biological parents. In most cases, unless there is substantial evidence that says otherwise, officials will always lean in the direction of believing that significant involvement of both parents is in the child’s best interest. This is known as the “best interests of the child” standard, and it relies on various factors to determine what the court believes is best for the child. Some (there are more!) of the important factors include: the ability of parents to cooperate; the child’s living arrangements; the level of each parents participation in the child’s life; the needs of the child; and the mental nd physical health of the parents. Apply the facts of your case to these factors to find the strengths and weaknesses.

Father Must Establish Paternity

One of the first steps that unmarried fathers must take in order to be granted custody (allocation of parental responsibilities) or visitation (parenting time) is to establish paternity of the child or children involved. This is done in one of two ways:

  • Both parents filing joint acknowledgement of paternity at the child’s birth; or
  • Following a legal process that includes administering a DNA test to the child and the man in question

Once these processes have taken place and paternity has been established, the biological father has the ability to pursue joint or full custody and any rights to parenting time. If the parents both acknowledge that the father is, in fact, the biological father, the court will not make the parties submit to a DNA test, they can sign an affidavit and court order in open-court and avoid the time and expense of a DNA test.  In many states, the legal system makes it possible for fathers to file recognition of paternity and custody/visitation rights at the same time. This would be memorialized in a court order stating the names of the biological parents.

Child Custody and Visitation Agreements

Father’s must be willing to cooperate with the mother if possible as the deck is somewhat stacked in a mother’s favor. Even though the courts have shifted to allowing fathers the same rights to custody, decision making, and parenting time as a mother, the vast majority of judges still have an internal bias toward the mother. Part of this bias is likely due to the fact that most judges are in their 50’s up into their 70’s and those judges were born, raised, and practiced law in a very different era from the one in which we now live. In order to help reduce the stress of fighting for custody or parenting time in court, many parents will find that it is a good idea to sit down and negotiate a parenting plan or parenting agreement. This parenting agreement will often include a number of details including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Which parent has primary custody or should custody be joint and shared (decision making or allocation of parental responsibilities)
  • Specific details on mother and father’s parenting time (days of the week and specific times)
  • Parent responsible for making decisions about the child’s health, education, and/or religion (decision making abilities – this might be a joint right)
  • How to handle any potential changes to the parenting agreement (possibly temporary changes made in writing, or permanent changes via court order or through mediation)

Court Orders for Child Custody and/or Visitation Agreements

Should the biological parents not be interested in negotiating or they cannot come to an agreement, either parent has the right to petition the court for help on gaining the custody rights or the parenting time (visitation) he or she is seeking. Again, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when making a final decision, but ideally will have both parents involved in the child’s upbringing. Should one of the parents show a reason for the court to decide otherwise, such as evidence of drug/alcohol use or domestic violence, the court may choose to grant primary custody of the child or children to just one parent. This does not take away the other parents rights, but it can limit the amount of parenting time that parent is allowed to have and it can limit the decision making abilities of that parent.

Father’s Rights to Custody and Visitation

Most states have now explicitly rejected the “tender years doctrine,” which stated that a child is best left with the mother for the first 4 years of the child’s life. And as stated previously, many states have also actually re-written their laws with express wording that states that a father has the same rights as a mother. By doing so, family law judges around the country have begun to make father’s the primary care takers of their children over mothers in many cases.

No matter which parent a judge grants physical custody of a child to, a father will have the opportunity to be awarded significant amounts of visitation (parenting time) as well as the rights to attend and receive school information, make doctors’ appointments, and many other decisions in their child’s life. when some of these rights are allocated to one parent over the other, the parent that is making the significant decisions will almost certainly have an obligation to inform the other parent first and have a discussion between the two of them first. Most importantly, do not let anymore time go by without seeking the father’s custody rights you deserve. Waiting makes the judge think that it just isn’t important enough for you to have come to court sooner to fight for your family. Speak to a local professional for a free family law consultation today!

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65 thoughts on “5 Ways to Win a Father’s Rights Custody Battle”

  1. My brother has 2 girls with his girlfriend. He takes care of the children while she works. It was an arrangement they worked out. One night she said she needed a girls night out and would be gone all night. My brother was fine with that. She came home at 6am and took the girls while he was sleeping. She called him and said she wanted him out and that the police were outside because he said he was going to kill himself. He was stunned. The police took him to hospital where he told them what happened and was sent home. She than called him and said he couldn’t get his stuff without a police escort. He was like what the hell is going on…he texted and texted til the police called and said he could be considered harassing her. The night before they were he thought. This was yesterday…what should he do???

    1. He needs a lawyer now. There might be more to the story than your brother is letting you in on, or his girlfriend may have gone with the nuclear option and decided to make up lies about him to try and get an order of protection against him so that she could have exclusive possession of the residence and use that to get a court order saying she should have primary custody of the children.
      This happens. False allegations are made against men, and when the dust finally settles, 3-months have gone by and now a judge doesn’t want to upend the kids lives and gives dad minimal parenting time.
      This is not to say that there aren’t a lot of domestic issues that go unreported and many times, the domestic incident is true and the allegations are disturbing. But in this instance, it sounds as though she may be making up lies to get exclusive possession of the house and kids. When this happens on a temporary basis, it frequently ends up being more permanent even when those allegations are proven false.
      The only way to reverse course is to get an experienced lawyer and file right now. He can’t wait a week or a month – he needs to be in front of the judge on an emergency motion within a week. If that means he sells his car or borrows from family to pay for the lawyer, he needs to do so. Waiting equals a loss and that loss will not be temporary – it will last a decade.

  2. I need advice.
    My daughter is 2 years old, and when she was 6 months old her mother and I split up (never married). And since then she refuses to let me see her. I’ve called,text, she don’t reply or it’s always an excuse that she has plans. She got a new boyfriend and is having her call him dad. She also has a daughter that I’ve raised since she was 3 months old. Calls me dad. Doesn’t see her dad. But still won’t let me see her. I’ve just recently filed for custody but I’m in a bit of a rut as to how this is going to go.
    If I eventually stopped texting and calling and took my next alternative which is going to court, will I still still have a good chance to getting my daughter?

  3. Fathers, HOW TO WIN.
    Get your child (preferably in junior high school or high school, & preferably a son, makes a difference). Get them for the summer..:

    DO NOT return child…!
    ENROLL child where you live…
    DELAY mother with any excuses.
    WAIT for mother to take you to family court.
    By the time you’re in court, your child would have already been in school for some time.
    EXPECT the Judge to be LIVID!, and angry! Why?
    Because now they have to assign a case worker. They cannot just pull child out of living situation while already in school, without some type of proof that they’re not doing as well.
    In fact, if your child is not doing well it is mainly shown in school records, so its even better if your child is NOT doing well with the mother…

    MEN, THIS IS THE ONLY WAY, unless you wanna spend your life savings fighting courts that are skewed in favor of the mother IN ALL STATES…

    PAY your child support and behave well in the years before high school…
    Let the mother win those years..
    Play it SMART…

      1. If the mother has a substance abuse problem, you will need to obtain as much evidence as possible in advance of any type of motion filing.
        One problem that always comes up when dealing with substance abuse issues is proving it or making enough of a showing to the court that an immediate drug test can be ordered to take place within 24-hours.
        You need proof, and you need an attorney that is waiting, ready to file an emergency motion at the drop of a hat – usually on a Monday morning/Sunday night to demand a drug test Monday before the system can be flushed out.
        If this is a newborn, the threshold for forcing the drug test might be lower because of the possibility that drugs could be passing through breast mil to the infant. But this could also set you up for failure if she is clean and it could make you look bad.
        If you honestly suspect illicit drug use is taking place in the presence of your infant child, you need to act as quickly as possible and that means having an experienced child custody lawyer being involved. You can’t take a chance when it comes to the health of your baby – but the first step is to be organized, prepared, and have your life cleaned up and looking good.

  4. I think it is ridiculous that the deck is stacked for the mother but at least the father has a chance if they cooperate. My brother is getting divorced and his wife is threatening to keep the kids away from him. I’ll try and find an attorney who can help him at least get visitation agreements for now.

    1. We can help! Even though almost every state has specifically added to their statutes (laws) that both a mother and a father have (initially) an equal right to, and the courts are supposed to treat each parent in a neutral manner regarding: custody / visitation / parenting time / allocation of parental responsibility / decision making; it is absolutely a fact that courts frequently come down on the side of the Mother when it comes to these issues.

      Father’s rights custody fights take place daily all over the country because of an implicit bias that many judges have – even when they try to be as neutral as possible. For that reason, having an experienced divorced attorney that specializes in fathers custody rights is essential to having the case presented in the best possible light.

      The primary factor that a court uses to determine who should be the primary parent (sometimes called custodial parent) is what is known as the “best interests of the child” standard. States vary on exactly how they define this, but or the most part, the courts focus on the following elements and apply them to an individual cases facts (facts that can be proven in court, NOT merely he said/she said), so apply these elements to your specific case (and keep in mind that factor #1 here is not even close to the most important factor, many judges don’t even really consider it):

      1. the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences
      as to decision-making;
      2. the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
      3. the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
      4. the ability of the parents to cooperate to make decisions, or the level of conflict between the parties that may affect their
      ability to share decision-making;
      5. the level of each parent’s participation in past significant decision-making with respect to the child;
      6. any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to decision-making with respect to the child;
      7. the wishes of the parents;
      8. the child’s needs;
      9. the distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the
      child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;
      10. whether a restriction on decision-making is appropriate;
      11. the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other
      parent and the child;
      12. the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child;
      13. the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;
      14. whether one of the parents is a sex offender, and if so, the exact nature of the offense and what, if any, treatment in which
      the parent has successfully participated; and
      15. any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant.

      Our fathers rights child custody professionals have a proven track record of presenting cases to the courts exactly as it needs to be done to get a dad the custody and parenting time that he deserves. Speak with one of our dad’s rights divorce lawyers or dad’s rights custody lawyers today!

      1. My nephews exwife is moving 2 1/2 hrs away from the home and area their (soon to be 12 yr old) son has ever known. He is very active in school, sports, and has a lot of friends. I am not saying his mom is not a good parent. My nephew lives close to his sons school, and attends all of his practices and games. He loves his son very much and always loves to be with him. He is very good at discipline without loosing his temper. He is fair, consistent, and his child respects him. Anyone who knows him knows his kids come first-no exceptions. They have a friendship also, and his son can talk to him anytime about anything or anybody. He works just down the street from where he is employed F/T(M-F) 5a.m. to 2:30p.m. and some Saturdays 5 a.m. to 11a.m. The only help he found cost about $4000.00 and only 50/50 chance of winning custody. Can you do anything? He lives in Marion, Ia.

        1. That sounds like a pretty awful situation to find himself in, especially since he is so involved in his child’s life. Is there already a court order in place regarding custody and parenting time? If not, he needs to file immediately – with an attorney is best, but even without one for the time being if need be.
          He needs to get the court case started if it hasn’t already so that is in progress before she attempts to move. Then, he needs to object to her moving. Louisiana is a state that restricts the total distance a person with shared custody can move within the state. In many states (Louisiana may be one of them), that distance is 75-miles or less is allowed, anything more than that (or out of state) requires an agreement or court order. But if she moves before he files, it will make it extremely difficult to force her to move back.
          We might have someone in the area, but this looks like it is a pretty small community. Please contact us right away.

    1. The best interests of the child standard will be used in virtually every single state (the elements vary a bit from state to state), but essentially, either parent has the opportunity to show the court why he or she is the best person to have primary decision making or why both parents should equally share decision making and custody concerns for their child.
      The court is not concerned about what either parent necessarily wants or thinks, they are primarily concerned with “what is best for this child.” If that is 90% of the time with one parent over the other, or that one parent should be solely responsible for making decisions related to child rearing, healthcare, schooling, etc., the judge will make that decision in the end.
      Typically, in contested custody cases, the courts employ other neutral parties to assist with some type of an investigation to report back to the judge a recommendation on custody and parenting time (visitation). This can e a child representative, guardian ad litem, or other individual that represents a minor child’s best interests.
      You should speak with one of our child custody professionals who can give you a good idea what it looks like from a neutral perspective. Best of luck!

  5. I’m sure glad I started documenting the actions of my kids mother the day we found out she was pregnant with our first kid. We were never married but we were together for 13 years. I basically raised her oldest kid since she was 1 year old and called me dad until her mom told her it was ok to start hating me when she was at the age of 10. Well, I documented everything and she eventually found this out. I knew that if her and I ever ended up in family court, I would need all the help I could get just for the simple fact that I’m a guy. She was 8 months pregnant with our first child and something felt off, I was getting some strange vibes and knew she was up to something when I was not around. I thought she was cheating on me, but was she really cheating 8 months pregnant? One day I placed a video recorder in our bedroom and made her think I was going to be working the entire afternoon. I left the house and I came back around an hour later, told her we couldnt work because it was raining, which it was. Well I grabbed my ipad which is was hat I used to record, took it in the bathroom and started the video. It wasnt even recording for 15 minutes and she went in the bedroom and she was smoking meth. Broke my F in heart. She knows I have the video and I do use it for leverage if I need to maybe remind her. Her mother would disown her if she ever saw it, but I also told her if she ever tries to keep my kids from me I will make it go viral on youtube. Yes, my son is perfectly fine, he is 7 1/2, he is smart, funny, caring, plays hockey, baseball. I never thought I’d catch her on video doing something like that. Because of that video and a ton of other things I have documented, I get my kids whenever I want. We agreed I’d take them Thursday after school until Sunday at 3 p.m. and she has them at 3 Sunday until Thursday morning. Its been 2 years since we split and in those 2 yrs I have had my kids close to 65% of the time. She has had a bunch of reasons why they should stay with me on some of the nights she was supposed to have them. I never turned them away one time. I’ve taken them everytime she wanted to dump them so she could whore and drink. I have not given up one of my nights in 2 years. NOT ONE TIME!!!! She knows if we ever went to family court she will be screwed so she does not keep my kids from me. She threatens to keep them from me but she wont. Myself and my kids are also enrolled Native Americans and their mother is not. She has no NA in her. So I’ve got the ICWA of 1978 on my side in family court as well. Family court in a tribal court at my request if it comes to that.
    I’m so glad I started documenting her actions early on. I have no problem getting time with my kids. To be honest, I am so good to my kids in every way possible, I put them before EVERYTHING and everybody, I’ve always been there for them and they see that and they want to live with me everyday. They start stressing out on Saturday because they know Sunday they go back with their mom. And they cry for the last 30 minutes before she picks them up saying they want to stay with me. I think its BS that because of the law, she could easily tell me that I cant see my kids until we go to court and have a judge decide but when my kids cry and say they want to stay with me all the time, there is no law that will protect me if I told her I am keeping them until YOU take me to court. If I did that, Amanda alerts would be issued and I’d go to jail for kidnapping.
    I’m so glad I have so much documented because that’s the only thing protecting my right to have my kids.

    1. Hi . I’m happy that worked out for you. Clearly, you are not from jersey? They don’t care what you have

  6. I am a father of 5, married 14 years. I am going through divorce in Orange County, CA. I am an MD. I used to work hard to provide for my family. Wife went from christian to muslim to atheist and now seems back into Christianity. She’s a Physician Assistant. Three years since separation, she has not worked. Because of my work schedule, we temporarily agreed to an unequal custody in June 2019. By Sept, I quit my old job, took a hug pay cut and got a job allowing me to have the kids 50%. Through her lawyer, I have been accused of domestic violence, only to be dropped in exchange for something else twice. Alienated my. kids so much that I have not seen one of my daughters all but 2 days since 10/2019. The court set support at 142% of my gross income and then Covid hit, which hit my income hard and then I got covid myself, off work for a month, developed heart inflammation and possible blood clot in my chest. Instead of sympathy, she reported me to child support services, the IRS. The DCSS is garnished my disability checks. last month, she got over 8000 out of my 13000 gross income. IRS sent me a bill for 26000 from 2018 and now she is holding on to my 3 older kids completely and the younger 2, I see them Thu-Sat. It is all because I have testicles and made the god awful mistake of getting married. It is not justice, it is not faire, it is actually criminal of the system we have if you are a man. It is absolutely draconian and barbaric. Now, I have to choose whether or not I have the mental capacity to fight for my kids or just walk away and save my life and my license.

  7. Wow. This is so sad. As a mother who stayed at home with her babies and shielded them from the father’s bouts of anger, I find this so sad. I fled my abusive marriage in March of 2019 and I never once tried to keep our child from him. I knew my baby loved him as well. I finally moved on, and once I did, all hell broke loose. I am currently waiting on our day in court. I’ve tried to come to an agreement between us. After a year of doing 50/50 he kept my baby from me. He’s gunning for full custody. Because he made more than I did (yet has been drawing unemployment for over a year) the ad litem decided our son should go to him. I’m all for father’s rights, I’m not for stealing from EITHER parent. Yet, here I am. Seeing my son every other weekend and having to combat accusations from my 4 year old that I will get married and forget about him. He’s not even allowed to call his sister “sissy” anymore while in his father’s care. I wouldn’t cater to just fathers. I’m not allowed to pick my son up from pre-k because his father hates me and didn’t put me on the papers. I’m just disgusted by this entire situation. He abused us and now is weighing heavily on all of the above and coming out on top, just because he can. If he does get full custody, he won’t give 2 shits about our poor baby anymore.

    1. I am LITERALLY going through the exact same thing omg!! I fled from my abusive ex, he moved up here. My son has never lived with him and hes been keeping him from me. He makes more money than I do and I just moved back into my parents house to save for my own house. He filed for sole custody and made up so many lies about me, my family can’t even believe it. He labeled me as an unstable parent and even changed his school without my permission. I’m a full time firefighter, i work 48 hours a week, only 2 24 hour shifts with a day in between and then have 5 days off to spend with my son. I am so hurt by this and I don’t understand why he is doing this to me.

      1. Start putting together all the facts and proof that the allegations are lies in an organized fashion now. It needs to be short, sweet, and bullet points with a date, what actually took place (or didn’t take place), and then find some type of concrete evidence and proof that it is a lie. For something to be actual evidence in court, it needs to meet a high threshold – he said / she said is almost never good enough (if you rely on your word versus his word, the game is already lost). The evidence needs to be in the form of unbiased witness testimony, a writing of some kind (text, email, etc.), pictures, audio, video, testimony of the child to a therapist or guardian ad litem, etc.
        And this evidence needs to be authenticated – as in it needs to have the court look at the evidence you present and say “this looks real and I knw it’s real because you can’t fake a Verizon text message,” or you can’t fake a letter from the school principal saying the kids are acting out on Thursdays (when dad has the kids on Wednesday’s overnight). Things like that make or break the case.
        Then, make sure you don’t slip up and send a nasty text/email/voicemail or have an outburst in front of someone important or the kids – he may bait you into it, but don’t fall victim to that plan.
        The single most important thing to do beyond keeping yourself in control and keeping a good record of everything from here on out is to hire an experienced child custody lawyer. If you go it alone and make mistakes and then decide to hire someone to save the day, know that cleaning up a mess and then fighting for you will cost 3-times what it would have cost you and the results will be limited.
        But again, above all else, keep your nose clean and document everything from here on out – forever.

        1. My gf moved from PA to TX to start a life with me here. The day she found out she was pregnant, she asked the nurse to send all her stuff to PA OBGYn. She made thr decision immediately without me. Now shes in PA, baby dur in August and I have no rights or say? She wont let me in room for deliv, she wont give it my last name, shes going to try to keep birth cert from me. How can i have a relationship w my child enough for a judge to grant me any custody w being in diff states? Mind you, there was no abuse, drugs, or anything. We both are healthy and athletic. I feel I was tricked into being a ‘donor” because she has called all the shots and I am here helpless.

          1. My husband is dealing with a potential joint custody battle
            He takes 100% care of his son with no issues..clothes shoes pickups and drop offs from school and daycare, we take him on trips out of state he spends days on end with us at home and most times does not want to leave when he’s with us. We bought him a cell phone so he can communicate with us and other members of his family with out having to go through the mother and she try’s to keep the phone from him on several occasions. She’s honestly just mad because my husband has moved on and is not a dead beat and truly has no reason to file for joint custody. I will definitely be taking this advice and keeping on record every time she has made it difficult for him to see his son or talk to his son I pray the judge finds a ruling in our favor if this does go to court

    2. There was a study that came out recently that concluded that women who alleged abused actually increased the fathers chance of custody by 72%. And if a child said they were sexually abused the father chances would increased by 68%. It’s pretty sad to hear the misconception of men not getting custody when the simple truth is that the court favors 50%-50% or it goes by case by case.

      1. Interesting study you mention. While I haven’t personally seen that (but I will look for it!), it is true that the courts (in many states now, at least), start from a position of the parents sharing custody, decision making, parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities. It is then on a parent to show why it should be something other than shared decision making authority and parenting time.
        It is also true that because some allegations made by either a mother or father in court turn out to be not true, the court loses any trust that litigant may have had and is branded a liar in the judges eyes. That absolutely has a negative effect on the parent that lied and oftentimes swings the custody case to the falsely accused parent.
        This is not to say that terrible things absolutely do happen, and many cases of abuse are never brought forth for fear or safety reasons, but when a person lies about something so disturbing as this, the court will view that person with contempt – and rightfully so.

  8. I appreciate your tip to sit down with the children and your soon-to-be ex-spouse and try to negotiate a parenting agreement. I imagine this makes it a whole lot easier in the courtroom. I’m sure you’ll still need a lawyer but now you have something to work on with them.

  9. So, I was a single father raising my daughter with the help of my family and partly the mothers grandparents, when I was at work. My daughter is now 9 years old and her mother all of a sudden wants to be apart of her life. I have never witheld our daughter from her, she just never made an effort. I feel like a fool because I to agree that both parents are essential in a child’s life. I have been with my girlfriend for the last 6 years and she is the most wonderful mother to our daughter. This last Christmas, my daughter’s biological mothers family was “hounding” us to bring her over.(they swindled me) So I did because my daughter loves her grandparents and they have always been apart of her life, (WE WENT TO CHURCH WITH THEM FOR PETE’S SAKE) I have never spoken ill about my daughter’s biological mother, because that is not right, that is for her to decide for herself when she is mentally capable. I am a sucker and she coaxed me into letting her have her overnight and my daughter said she wanted to, keep in mind she hasn’t seen her for 6 years, now I can’t get ahold of her without calling an officer to help me talk to my daughter, but when I do her mother is “coaching” her over the phone and my daughter breaks down and cries because she wants to come home. Her mother’s living accommodations are not at all adequate in my opinion and she is mentally abusing our daughter and there is nothing I can do because I never filled paperwork sooner. My daughter wants to come home, but I cannot do a thing. As of the moment I am jumping through all the hoops I possibly can, filling a parental agreement, temporary custody so I can get her home more soon, hiring a lawyer, getting character references, filling every document I can to get my baby girl back home. I even paid child support for the first five years of her life when she was living with me. I told the state time and time again that I had her and physically showed them she was with me……1 month later out if nowhere I’m paying child support again when her mother never had her in the first place. I’m having a difficult time reaching a lawyer, and it hurts. All she wants is the state benefits that come with the child she does not care about the child’s well being. I’m doing everything I can to get her back home, any advice concerning my predicament is welcome. I am having a hard time sleeping and am driving myself mad everyday without her and knowing she is not in a good environment.

    1. I even have all medical records, school records, bills child support payments and everything proving she was with me full time, but each day she is away I feel damage is being done that can’t be undone

      1. You mentioned a lawyer – if you don’t have one, you need one now. Get a loan, sell your car, do whatever it takes to get money together for a family law attorney to immediately file a petition for declaration of parentage / petition to establish a father-child relationship. ire a special process server and et the mother served the next day, as soon as you can. Then, file an emergency motion for return to status quo and for temporary and permanent custody.
        The longer it takes before things are done correctly, the more disadvantaged you will be.
        Your word is not good enough – you need significant evidence – in written form – proving that you have been the primary caretaker, that the mother was not involved or around for years, and that your daughters life has been fantastic this entire time.
        You then, likely, need to have a child representative / guardian ad litem appointed to the case. This is another attorney that you both will pay for (some county court houses have them for free or extremely cheap) to investigate. They will interview everyone in your family, her family, your daughter, teachers, etc. Making a positive impression on a child rep is then the most important thing you could do – they will give the judge a recommendation and, with rare exception, the judge will follow that recommendation (since the child rep is the ‘boots on the ground’ and the judges eyes and ears).
        You need to act fast – delaying makes it worse – and you need to do it the right way. There is no task more difficult for even an experienced child custody lawyer than cleaning up a mess made by a client that started things without a lawyer.
        Begin gathering evidence (not just your word or friends and family saying nice things about you) to give to your lawyer. you said school forms? Great. That is a good first start to prove she has been with you.
        When it comes to fighting for your father’s rights to custody, there is no option of just winging it in court – the stakes are too high and the process is too difficult.
        Contact one of our local professionals immediately. You need to hire someone now, this is not something you can take on all by yourself – if you do, you will likely not stand a chance.

  10. Caring grandmother

    So my son has been battling court for almost 3 years he has been given primary care about 6 months ago the wife has not been allowed unsupervised visits do to drugs so in almost 3 years she finally past a drug test but still has not followed the 8 months of steps she was given but she decided because she just past the drug test like 3 weeks ago she now is going to go after getting primary care. She keep trying to say she was the primary care giver before there break up which is not true because i had them 70 percent of the time while dad worked while she would just drink and party and do drugs that she still tries to deny even though the drug test was positive for many drugs she disappeared for over a year no one heard from her or could get ahold of her even her family were no help. The kids have no idea who she is there ages are 7, 5 and 4 what is the chance she would have of actually getting it.

  11. My son did everything right for his two children ( 2 and 3) He worked hard, was there at birth and provided for them including her 13 year old. His ex said she did not want to marry because she is “fat” and wouldn’t look good in a wedding dress. Her motive was to move out of the SFH into an apartment and hit him for child support and deny visitation so he can pay more in support. The courts believed her lies and refused to see any evidence (pictures, texts and paperwork) my son had. The California judge said the children are too young and come back when they are older to get more time. The children are having separation issues and the mother continues to play games. She spent the child support money on a tummy tuck and tattoos while the children wear tight clothing!! The lawyer was a joke (only their for the money). I suggested to keep fighting and show the court you will not give up. It’s sad when one person plays games and don’t consider the effects it has on the children. My son is a good man who’s done everything to support his family and lost it all because his ex thinks more about herself than their children. I’m praying for a happy ending. The children need both parents in their lives and not to played as pawns!!

  12. My husband and I are currently trying to make a case to win more if not full custody of his daughter. She currently lives in another state and due to his active duty status we are limited in the times we get to see her. The child’s mother does not communicate anything about what’s going on with my stepdaughter (i.e. when she’s sick, traveling, etc.) and does not like her visiting us because it makes her nervous being away from her daughter. They already have a custody plan that outlines times when my husband is supposed to have her throughout the year and in his absence his mother is allowed to have her. However, his mother does not tell us when she has his daughter and limits our time with her because she makes plans before we can and the child’s mother is more willingly to work with her than us since they live in the same state. It feels like we have no say in deciding when to see her and are expected to go along with what everyone else wants. Any advice?

    1. People like you are the issue. I’d be nervous of I was her also. She’s not your baby. She’s the mother baby. She’s your ex husband’s baby. Stop talking about her as if you have PR. Leave it between the parents.

      1. No, people like YOU are the issue. Assuming either parent cares better for the child simply because they helped create the child is misguided. There are so many step parents who love and care more for the child than a biological parent. This is coming from a father who is fighting for his daughter. I am single so this is an unbiased opinion.

      2. Your so ignorant it’s disturbing! Try a different approach next time before commenting like your being attacked. Be mindful and try emotionally detaching your feelings so we can all have normal conversations like adults, and get rid of that victimized mentality it’s so hard to have an open conversation when you feel like your always constantly being attacked and you lose sight of common sense or somehow it so happen to fade away like what you see going on in 2020!

  13. So my ex wife and I separated and she move and hour away with her mother which wasnt a big deal I drove to see my son and get him and take him back from visits months later her mom kicked her out and she moved 4 hours away and stayed in a motel for a year I tried to get her to let our son live with me while she was in that situation but she refused we had a moment we talked about getting back together then decided not to so the guy she was seeing kicked her hot then she took of with my son for 7 months wouldn’t let me have any contact with my son and it killed me so much and it took me awhile to come up with the money to get a lawyer to get out divorce and try and get visitation so she could no longer with hold my son in that time she moved hours away in the opsitie direction then all the way back to the area she was in before the 7 months now my son is about to start school I want him to go to school here with me and my other son due to her not having transportation and no one there to help if something happened and I offered to help her get a place near me and everything and she refused but due to her moving so much he was behind on his shots and everything and it wasnt till I talked about taking her back to court she started taking him to the doctor and finally getting him reviewed for being mentally behind and not retaining information. So what I’m asking do I have a chance to try and get primary custody and the mother only get visitation due to her situation. I really love my son and wants what is best.

  14. Michelle L Abellana

    My son just lost a 50 50 custdy battal because the mother lied about everything. And the judge gave her fool custody and its not fare tp my son jow can he prove all the lies she said

  15. After my brother divorced his ex-wife last June, he’s been having a hard time seeing his children because she’s using them as her tool to get him to re-marry her again. It’s interesting to know that he can try making it clear to a family court that he earns more money than her so he can have the upper ground in getting child custody rights for their children. I suppose he can try consulting with a lawyer first so that he’ll know how to properly execute this so he won’t look like he’s bragging about it.

  16. I was a victim of abuse by the other parent. I was to afraid to leave because my children were always threatened. They also witnessed the abuse that i went through. When i see them watching me get slapped around cursed and yelled out i always had a smile on my face and concentrated on them . Holding them lovingly and telling them i was in trouble for not picking up my toys or not finishing my dinner always showing them im brave and did my best not to worry them . I sheltered them and kept them away from the truth of the other parents actions. As they got a bit older and we separated the other parent filled my children with lies that i was abusive and i belonged in jail. My children love me and nothing will change that. When separated i managed to get my children and move away starting a new life. Where everything came to place job, housing and my children finally lives a civil life like a child should. I did my best to keep the children in contact with the other parent no matter the hate i had. But it wasn’t about me it was for my children. One day the other parent wanted to take the kids for a few weeks to there home in the west coast a few days later i learned they have been enrolled in school without my consent and i was stuck with weeks after i was hit with a false domestic violence charge against me and order to make parenting agreement. Where the children to reside on the other parents home and i get visitation. I tried to be strong but everytime my kids came to visit rhey knew less than what i have already taught them including reading and math also potty training. They also tell me disturbing stories about the other parent. I am currently fight for custody but the other parent has lied about so much and manipulated the children. I was denied picking up my kids from school, going to there recitals and plays, doctor information, kindergarten graduation and being a part of there birthdays. I would never do such things to the other parent because the child would be the one to suffer. I need help my children need to be in a safe living environment. Where they can grow and develop. Please anyone. I am a father who has been in hell for 10 years and want to be free of worry for my childrens safety.

  17. I have a 3 month old daughter and my husband was physically abusive 2 weeks after c-section but now lies and says he did it because I pushed him which never happened. He’s also emotionally and mentally abusive but I’m afraid to leave because I don’t have proof of abuse, his income way more than mines, threatens that he will take my daughter from me and has lawyer friends that advises him. Anytime I want to see my family, do anything that he doesn’t agree with or even if he doesn’t like the tone of my voice, he threatens to divorce me. I’m afraid and I don’t know how to get out and keep my daughter.

    1. Start by making sure that you have documented proof that you are the primary parent for taking care of that baby. You are the one that feeds her, clothes her, takes her to doctor appointments, tucks her in, etc. Those are the first things that should be focused on.
      Next, you need to document everything that happens between you two that is abusive. Notes take each day (very short,bullet point notes, not long paragraphs that no one will actually read).
      Talk to a lawyer in your area to find out if a nanny cam being setup in the house is legal, and maybe you can catch one of his tirades where he gets physical with you on tape and use that for a order of protection.
      But by no means should you lie or do anything that could jeopardize your side of the story.
      As far as money is concerned, you might be awarded temporary maintenance (alimony) ad if you are granted exclusive possession of the home, for example, or majority parenting time, you will likely receive child support as well. Sometimes, when incomes are very different, attorneys file a petition for contribution to attorneys fees and costs whereby the higher-earning spouse has to pay some or all of your attorneys fees. This has a way of getting people like him to settle quickly!

  18. I’m a fit parent of a 2 1/2 yr. old daughter whose mother is trying to take more time away from our joint custody, granted by hearing officers a year ago. I’m attending court on my own tomorrow, any suggestions for me keeping the best interest of my girl as present custody?

    1. Antwan L Brame jr

      Did u win the case if so pls give me some tips cus my son mom is doing everything she can not to give me my son

  19. The mother of my children age 7 and 3 holds primary custody. She lost her house and moved into her ex-boyfriends mother’s house into another county, uprooting our daughter from everyone she knows and the school she has always been at. I’ve recently been told that she would be going to night in the county she just moved from so she will literally see the kids for an hour and the ex boyfriends mother will watch the kids. On top of that our daughter is missing school with no excuse or doctors note and not receiving the proper help with her school work at a school where only 3 out 10 kids make an average score on testing and a passing rate. She could come back to her original school where the passion rate is 9 out 10, a better school and the help she needs to succeed. Would I have any type of a chance to switch custody?

  20. Rodolfo Salinas

    I’m a father of a 10 year old in California, his Mom and I were never married, we lived together for 13 years. We separated last oct of 2018. I’ve been picking him up every other weekend and also taking him back home. I am a helicopter parent. Every Monday I pick him up from his music class and take him home. Every Tuesday we have dinner together and take him home. I pay child support but his Mom refuses to make a custody arrangement in black and white. She currently just moved and refuses to give me her new address. I just want to know as his father what rights do I have? I’ve been there since day one. Can I just start the paperwork on child custody on my own?
    Thank you

  21. where can my friend get legal advise if he was wrongfully (with no evidence) accused of domestic violence against the mother of his children? They have two children ages 5 and 3 years old. he is on scheduled visitation with his children. She (the mother) IS IN A HOME FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE. What are his rights? there was no evidenc e of abuse

  22. Thank you for all the tips. My fiancés wants to get full custody of his 10 years old son but the son lives in New Jersey with his mother and we live in Georgia. How can we have this established?
    Thank you

  23. A father has domicile custody of 10 year old and 12 year old girls . They stay w him most of the time or the girlfriend that lives w him.the mother is n and out never consist n alot of boyfriends and traffic at her house..what can the father do to protect the children

  24. Thank you for the information! As a tip, numbers 3 and 5 need some work here. Pay inequality is a can of worms that you don’t need to open here. It is a trend, but not a rule, and it’s not even fair that it’s a trend. Why not just say that if you have more earning power than your ex, you can use that to argue that you can provide better for the kid(s).
    And number 5, looking for a housewife to take care of your kids from a previous marriage?? How about “A healthy, new marriage can provide more stability for your children, especially if one partner earns enough to support the family, leaving the other free to stay home with kids.”
    I am a woman and have twice the earning power as my partner who is currently in a custody battle with his ex.

    1. Marriage is the worst mistake any man can make. I do not recommend it otherwise, you are back in square one with yet another woman.

  25. well im a 49 year old disabiled dad of 2 one is 9 and my other is 11 my ex wife has stopped me seeing my kids she dont tell me when there hospital appointments are all she has done is attack my new wife and stailk us and follow us and film us im from england and im unemployed so i cant afford legal advise can anyone please help

  26. My child mother put me out by calling the police and then disappeared with my child. Since then she has blocked me from all contact and if she does call after I email her a thousand times its only 2 minute conversations with my 2 year old. I don’t even know where my child is and have not seen her since I been put out on Thanksgiving. What to do.

  27. Number 3 is disgusting. This is why there is child support – to equalize the standard of living. What you are saying is that a father should not care about how the child lives while he or she is with the mother. What matters more is the quality of time with the child and how well the parent cares for the child emotionally and mentally. Number 3 is why states garnish wages or have family registries to provide child support. It is all too common fathers who have to pay child support resent having to pay it – child support is for the children’s expenses. A father who really loves his child would want to give his child the best life possible in both homes if the mother’s income is not at the same level.

    1. Oh really .. a woman who make 70k and a father make 120k yet he is paying 1300 in support.
      The man should be used an ATM.
      You must be a woman who like meal ticket

    2. Some women purposely remain underemployed to maximize CS. Realistically it will never be equal when the mother doesn’t choose to raise her skill set. The child should live with the parent who can’t meet all needs without stress.

    3. That’s not what the website is implying. It’s implying that more and more men are steering away from marriage because most women are fat lazy cows sitting at home collecting child support and denying visitation. Those days are coming to an end, dear. Also, do a simple google search on this topic and it’s women trying to find ways to further kidnap men’s children. Get out of here you bum!

    4. And what if the mother is a lazy pos and doesn’t try to provide a good life for the child? I think in many cases that men have resentment towards child support, the mother puts in zero effort to provide for the child.

  28. Deborah Strickland

    I’m the grandmother of a 2 year old grandson who is living with the wife of my son who is his biological father. She is not his biological mother. She has temporary custody. My son if fighting 4 custody of him. They’ve almost been married 4 one year & have been separated since May. I can’t go n2 further information based on personal issues. He needs legal advice desperately!! Could u plz contact me?

  29. Hello,

    Here is my story…I am the father of a teenage son (17) who last August looked me in the eye and said he no longer wished to be part of my life. By extension that meant he did not want to spend time with his stepmother, half-brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandma. He provided flimsy reasoning. I now know that he favored his mother over me because she allows him to do things I would never. He smokes marijuana, drinks alcohols, and even peddles small amounts of marijuana. I know he would never agree to live with me. I have rules and structure. I currently pay over $1000 in child support. I don’t know what to do. I know that I do not want to continue to pay child support to a household that does not have my son’ s best interests in mind.. I live in California. Any thoughts/insight are welcome. Thanks.

  30. My fiance has paperwork saying he’s the custodial parent of his 3 year old but it’s not court documents and his son’s mom randomly took him 3 month’s ago how does he go about getting his son? He took care of him without her for 3 years

  31. Lawrence Wilkinson

    If the father has a 14yr old living with him who is an Honor students and his mother died from Lupus, what are his rights and benefits. Speaking on his behalf.

    1. Lawrence Wilkinson

      The father works and custody of his 14 year old because his mother is deceased over 10 years age.

  32. My brother and his wife are getting divorced and he wants to be able to have custody of their kids. I love how you suggest that the father is present at all parent teacher meetings and be a “helicopter” parent. I’ll have to make sure he doing these things as he’s looking for a good lawyer.

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