Picture the classic 1950s suburban scene: a mother is hard at work in the kitchen, preparing after-school snacks for her children. She’s spent the day keeping the home and cooking a roast for dinner. Her husband comes home and props his feet up with the newspaper and a stiff drink. After dinner, he spends a few moments playing catch with the kids in the yard before returning to his easy chair and turning on his favorite TV program.
This is clearly an outdated snapshot of the American family. So, why do we still use this model when considering child custody after a divorce? Dads in the U.S. fulfill diverse roles: as the family breadwinner, or as an equal earner, or as a stay-at-home parent. They’re more involved in their children’s lives than ever and enjoy coaching little league teams, attending dance recitals, and taking family vacations. Still, the mother is much more likely to receive primary custody by default. This simply isn’t fair to the child, or to the loving fathers who would prefer to remain an active participant in their child’s life.
Fighting for Fathers’ Rights in Family Law Court
Many fathers are hesitant to petition the court for primary or sole custody of their child due to the still prevalent stereotype of mothers being the primary caretakers. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the 21st century, it’s that each family is unique; what works for one may not work for all. If you are a loving father who wants to obtain custody of your child, a family law attorney for men can help you prepare your case to be seen by a judge.
Every father who seeks sole custody of their child has a different reason for doing so. Some fathers may feel there is no nurturing relationship between the child and his mother, so they worry about how that could affect the child long-term if he is placed in her care. Other fathers may have evidence that their ex is abusive or neglectful towards the child and poses a serious risk to the child’s well-being. Being in the custody of a narcissistic parent can also be very damaging to a child. Whatever your reason for seeking sole custody, know your feelings are valid. It’s our job as custody lawyers for men to make a judge understand your reasoning and ultimately agree to the custody and visitation schedule you’ve proposed.
How to Help the Judge See Your Side
The courts like to give a child time with both parents, so your argument must be compelling if you hope to receive sole custody. Remember that even if you do obtain sole custody, your ex will likely be entitled to visitation time.
If you have reason to believe your child is in danger if left with your ex, this should absolutely be discussed at the hearing. You’ll need to present evidence to back up your claims, whether it’s physical evidence (social media posts, photos of physical abuse, police reports) or testimony from witnesses. This is one unique situation which may lead not only to you receiving sole custody, but also to your ex receiving only supervised visitation with your child – or no visitation whatsoever.
If you simply believe it is in your child’s best interest to live with you full time due to their relationship with both parents, focus on the positives. Be prepared to illustrate your strong bond with your child and your ability to provide stability in their life. If you’ve recently divorced your co-parent, you may want to show the judge that you can maintain your child’s schedule and are willing to keep him at the same school.
It’s also important to acknowledge the role of the child’s mother in his life. If you are amenable to a generous visitation schedule and regular phone calls with mom, the judge may feel more comfortable giving you sole physical custody. Even though it is paramount to protect your child’s bond with you, his primary caregiver, it’s also important to avoid alienating him from his mother.
Fathers’ Custody Rights Attorneys
Obtaining sole custody is no small feat, especially since most family law courts currently favor a 50/50 custody model. If you hope to be triumphant in your attempt to obtain sole custody, we strongly recommend getting in touch with a family law and custody attorney. Our attorneys would be happy to help you review your case and determine whether you have a good shot at receiving soul custody. To schedule a consultation, just give us a call at 973-562-0100.