Today, awarding full custody to the mother is no longer automatic during a divorce settlement. Now, the court looks at the cases deeper to see which parent, if not both of them, is a positive influence in the life of the child. There are also additional considerations, such as the effect on uprooting the child, current relationship with the parent, and schooling, just to name a few. Father’s today have rights, but they may need the help of a skilled attorney to ensure these rights are upheld.

Fathers have rights tooBefore custody is awarded in any case, the judge will want to hear testimony from all parties. This usually includes but is not limited to:

  • Both Parents
  • Witnesses
  • The Children

Depending upon the age of the children, the testimony will have a large impact on the final decision made by the courts. After all testimony is heard, the judge will award joint, partial, or sole custody. However, outright sole legal and physical custody is generally only awarded when one parent is deemed unfit or unsafe for the child. For instance, a parent that has been known to abuse drugs or alcohol would more than likely be deemed an unfit parent.

What is the Difference between Physical and Legal Custody?

While primary custody may be awarded to one parent (physical custody), decisions as to how the child is raised may be awarded to both parents (legal custody). In other words, the judge may decide the children will live with the father full time and grant the mother visiting days or weekends. However, no decision is to be made regarding schooling, medical care, religion, etc…without the consent of both parents.

It would be nice to think the courts have progressed, but the reality is that mothers still win the majority of sole custody cases. Because of this, unless the mother is abusive or presents other challenges to the welfare of the children, fathers are usually much better off filing for joint custody instead of full custody. The success rate for these cases is virtually double that of those filing for sole custody.

In order to have a much better chance of success, fathers are best served to hire a family law attorney specializing in child custody. He or she will be able to evaluate the case and give you a realistic picture in terms of the best course of action to take to ensure that you are able to see and spend time with your children on a regular basis.

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2 thoughts on “Divorcing Fathers Have Rights Too!”

  1. I’m going to say right now, there is no way Mississippi would allow this because it is common understanding that all men are trash and it is very wrong to allow fathers rights to their children. Regardless if the mother is absent and or in jail. My brother had lost all rights and his child my nephew was put up for adoption out of fear that my brother might not be able to raise him according to state requirements.

    1. This sounds absolutely awful – was there something that either the court was told that was untrue or behavior that the court refused to give a second chance to fix for a ruling this extreme to take place, anything at all? Every case is different, so the rules are always a little gray to allow for flexibility, but this sounds like something went wrong and he didn’t have the proper help and was railroaded.

      Ordinarily this only takes place when serious endangerment has happened on more than 1-occasion and the parent then did not follow the procedures to obtain custody again (this might include counseling and family therapy, parenting courses, enrollment in NA or AA, etc.). Mississippi is similar to some neighboring states where the statute specifically states that fathers and mothers have the same rights to custody (although judges might have a personal bias – impossible to avoid some of that when humans are making a decision). Mississippi law states, in Mississippi Code Title 93. Domestic Relations § 93-13-1: “The father and mother shall have equal powers and rights, and neither parent has any right paramount to the right of the other concerning the custody of the minor or the control of the services or the earnings of such minor, or any other matter affecting the minor.”

      But this is terrible and unless serious endangerment was proven, never should have happened – tragic.

      Has he considered the possibility of appeal? It might not be too late for him to move forward in some way and get his rights back! So sorry to hear this story.

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