Co-parenting has evolved quite a bit over the years, and now, a father’s rights are about equal to those of the mother. Of course, this does not mean that the custody process will always be smooth sailing. Custody disputes are never easy, and it is always important to keep the well-being of your child(ren) first when navigating a contentious relationship with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
One of the main factors that is considered in the determination of custodial agreements is the amount of time and effort each parent put into past child-rearing. For example, if one spouse works full-time outside of the home and the other is at home with the child, that past history will be the main factor in any custody agreement.
Fortunately, these decisions are no longer weighted toward the mother, as the past efforts of both parents are considered. If you have always been an active participant in your child’s life, there is no reason for that to change post-divorce. The courts are now able to look past previous gender biases and make rulings that are solely based on the welfare of the child.
Even if you are the primary career-holder in your family, that does not mean that your time with your child doesn’t count. Are you the main parent to take the kids to their weekend practices and games? Do you schedule and plan all of the family trips? Have you had an active role at the child’s school, or are you the primary parent to help with homework? All of these activities can be relevant when building your case. And, if your child is of school age, your full-time work outside of the home may be less of an issue.
Sit down and think about all of the ways that you are a presence in your child’s life. Don’t feel like any of the activities are too obvious. And don’t forget that while your financial contributions may be significant, it is the time that you spend with your child that may count even more.
Once the history of your family dynamic is reviewed by the judge, it will be time to determine the Primary Conservator. In some cases, there can be an equal split of custodial duties, 50-50, but that is not always the case. If you believe that your level of past involvement warrants your appointment as Primary Conservator, then you should fight for this outcome.
Do not feel that, because you are the father, your spouse will receive primary custody. Those days are thankfully over. What you will need to do is present a record of the time, effort, and energy that you have spent rearing your child. The more detailed your account is, the more favorably it will be received. During this part of the process, it is important to present your side of the story without disparaging the co-parent. You will want to show that you will be able to put your differences aside to best serve the needs of your children.
It is every parent’s wish that their child receives all of the love, care, and attention that they need to enjoy a happy and stable childhood. To achieve this goal, it is vital that you and your spouse create an effective co-parenting relationship. For many divorcing couples, this is the most difficult part of the process. If you feel that your spouse has wronged you, or is not a good person, the idea of working with them can feel like a punishment.
In some situations, it can be helpful to consider your co-parenting relationship as an extension of the relationship that you have with your child. With time, you may be able to feel more positively towards your child’s mother. But in the meantime, you will need to figure out a way to be a co-parent and create a positive environment for your child.
Whenever there is a situation that warrants a parent being totally removed from their child’s life, co-parenting is less of an issue. However, in most situations, the courts will decide that some type of shared custody is best for the child. You will want to present yourself in a mature and rational manner that reflects well on your ability to put your child’s needs first. Having the right lawyer that understands how the system operates can make the process and the outcome fair for all parties.
If you would like to avoid going to court for your divorce and subsequent custody agreements, mediation may be an option. There are some cases where even the most contentious divorces can obtain a successful outcome through mediation. Court hearings are no fun for anyone, and your attorney will be able to advise you about the benefits and drawbacks of the mediation process.
Mediation is just one possible option for your divorce and is not always right for every situation. Having the right divorce attorney who understands your needs will be able to determine if this path is a viable option for your divorce and desired outcomes.
If you are struggling with a contentious divorce due to child custody issues, turn to a divorce lawyer that understands a father’s rights. There is no reason that you can’t continue to be the primary caretaker for your child. Even with the changes in our court system, some fathers do still find it difficult to get a fair hearing during an acrimonious divorce. With an attorney who is an advocate for father’s rights on your side, you are much more likely to receive a custody agreement that is fair to you.
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