A father’s custody rights in divorce have received more attention in recent years. State guidelines determine which parent receives custody of the children and they place heavy importance on the best interests of the child. Courts also consider several other factors that may not be included in custody guidelines or state laws. To win custody, fathers must understand both relevant laws and additional considerations made by local courts.
Most state laws include several factors related to child custody. The best interests of the child extends to shelter, food, medical care, education, health insurance, day care (if applicable), and any special needs of the youngster. Also included are considerations regarding the income and expenses of both parents and the standard of living experienced by the child before the divorce. States may have variations of these guidelines but they are not usually very different.
Additional guidelines considered by the court but not typically presented in written child custody laws include whether the parent will encourage and facilitate a relationship between the child and other parent. Parental morals and the effect of parental lifestyles on the child are also considered. Courts may consider the school the child will attend, looking more favorably upon the parent who earns more money and lives in a nicer area. Whether the parent lives near and has a close relationship with other family members may also be considered.
Fathers should attempt to present themselves in a favorable light regarding all of these factors. Though many courts do not automatically grant physical custody to the mother, they may consider the mother most likely to receive custody unless the father presents a strong argument against this. Fathers can win custody if they can prove they are able to provide the most stable and loving environment for their children.
Fathers Who Have a Family Law Attorney
A father who has an attorney is usually better equipped to present such a case to the court. The attorney may help the father show that the mother provided more parenting during the marriage only because the father had to work longer hours to support a family on a single income. Once the couple is divorced, the mother will need to work just as long.
Fathers may need to have others testify or provide affidavits regarding their parenting abilities. A father may even need to respectfully identify parenting weaknesses that a mother has. Fathers who have the ability to financially support their children and maintain stable environments may be able to win their custody cases.