A lot of people assume that fathers receive less preferential treatment when it comes to child custody and visitation matters. While it may seem true that mothers are most often granted sole physical custody of their children, the truth of the matter is that the law is gender neutral. The only thing the law cares about in this regard is protecting the child’s best interests. This means that you, as a father, need to be able to demonstrate why contact with your child, or even obtaining physical custody, supports your child’s best interests.
Knowing the importance of a father’s involvement
The first step in demonstrating how your involvement is good for you child is simply understanding the effects that an active father can have on his child’s life. Studies have shown that children who have an engaging father in their life tend to avoid risky behavior, perform better in school, and develop healthy relationships. These kids can go on to have higher IQ scores, secure higher paying jobs, and stay out of trouble. Fathers can provide their children with a sense of security and support, and they can promote inner growth and strength. In other words, a father’s involvement in his child’s life can have a tremendous impact on that child
Proving best interests
Of course, if you’re going to seek visitation, physical custody, or a modification of visitation or custody, then you’re still going to have to prove that your proposed arrangement furthers your child’s best interests. It’s worth noting that before you get to that point, you’ll have to establish a legal relationship with your child. If your child was born during the course of marriage, then you’re all set. But if the child was born out of wedlock, then you’ll need to take steps to establish paternity.
Once paternity has been established, then you can focus on building your case. There are a lot of factors that a court can take into consideration when making a custody determination, so you’ll want to take a look at those and consider how they apply to your situation. For example, showing a strong bond and productive relationship with your child is key, but so, too, is showing the stability of your home environment and your ability to ensure that your child receives a quality education.
The focus shouldn’t just be on your parenting capabilities
But the focus doesn’t just have to be on you and your ability to care for your child. You can also focus on how the current custody and visitation arrangement serves as a detriment to your child’s wellbeing. This may mean putting forth evidence showing that your child’s mother is unfit due to abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or domestic violence, or it could mean showing that your child’s mother lacks the financial resources necessary to adequately provide for the child.
You shouldn’t overlook your relationship with your child’s mother, either. One factor that the court will consider when making a custody determination is the parents’ ability to communicate, cooperate, and encourage parenting time with the noncustodial parent. If your child’s mother has a history of attempting to push you out of your child’s life and restrict your access to him or her, then you can probably use that evidence to support your position.
Do you need help building your child custody case?
We know that there’s a lot at stake in your child custody case. Your child’s health, safety, and wellbeing might be on the line, and your relationship with him or her can be defined by the outcome of your case. But don’t let that overly stress you. After all, you have the ability to secure competent legal assistance. An advocate who is adept at handling these matters can help you assess the facts of your case and assist you in building the compelling legal arguments you and your child need. If you’d like to learn more about what our firm has to offer in that regard, please continue to browse our website.