It can be challenging for a father to win custody of his child. But courts are beginning to give fathers their due consideration as more dads fight for custody. If you are a dad seeking full custody of your child, there are a number of things to think about as you move forward.
The Child’s Best Interest
For one, it is important to understand the custody granting process. At bottom, when a court is deliberating on the question of custody, the interest of the child comes first. The court thus gives custody to the parent who will foster the child’s happiness, mental health, overall wellbeing and emotional development.
Specifically, the court will want to know the nature of the child’s relationship with both parents. The court will also want to get a sense of each parent’s ability to cultivate a stable environment for the child, in addition to determining how willing each parent is to support the child. In the end, the court will want to determine the status of the parents’ mental and physical health. The wishes of the child will also be considered in the court’s deliberations.
In short, if up until this point, you have had a positive relationship with your child, then you’re on track to getting custody.
The Importance of Remaining Calm
Divorce can be emotionally turbulent. There’s no way around it. But while the custody of your child is on the table, it’s of utmost importance not to lose your temper or to let your emotions get the best of you. If you say or do something out of anger, it could reflect badly on your ability to cultivate a caring environment.
This means that, no matter what, you should be kind and respectful when speaking to your ex-partner.
Being in Your Child’s Life
Even if you work long hours to provide for your family, the court will not look favorably on you as a candidate for custody if you cannot show the judge that you are present in your child’s life. Thus, it is important to make it a priority to attend birthday parties, basketball games, school functions or whatever else might come up in your child’s day to day life. And if you can, you should be sure to be on time to these events, if not early. This can convey to the court that you indeed care for your child and are willing and able to be an active part of your child’s development.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Being present in your child’s life and being kind and courteous during proceedings are important, but if you don’t prepare for potential questions from the judge, you could risk looking like you don’t have a plan, or worse, looking like you don’t care. So be sure to prepare for questions pertaining to your child’s education, finances, and living situation. Without well- thought-out answers to these questions, the court could decide that you aren’t ready to take on this responsibility.
As your attorney, we will work closely with you to help you prepare for the custody hearing.