Divorce and child custody cases can be some of the most contentious aspects of family law. Understandably, parents can get frustrated with the emotional legal battle as they fight for what's best for their child. There was once a time when courts favored mothers as their children's primary caretakers, but this now an outdated practice. Although gender roles have shifted, and more fathers are seeking custody rights, they still face many challenges in court, even if they have their kids' best interests in mind. As a father, you have as much right to be a parent to your child as their mother does.
As you build your case, consider the following advice.
Consider Child Custody Mediation
Alternative dispute resolutions are methods to reach an agreement without going to court. Mediation or even arbitration can be an easier way for fathers to win custody. Court hearings can be stressful and expensive, but many parents can find an agreeable solution through mediation sessions with the guidance of a neutral third party whose goal is to facilitate an outcome both parties are satisfied with.
Try to Negotiate
Try to avoid going to court at all costs. If you do not want to work with a mediator, you should still negotiate a parenting agreement together. As we mentioned previously, litigation is notoriously difficult, not only for the parties involved but for the kids as well. By creating a joint parenting plan and agreeing on co-parenting, you are showing your children that you are willing to work together to care for them.
Maintain a Strong Relationship with Your Child
If you are fighting for custody and currently don't have it, you must continue building a relationship with them. Maintain regular communication, support their extracurricular activities, attend school functions, take them to doctor's appointments, check in on them routinely, and be there for them. The point is to assure them that you are there to be a loving and present father.
Have a Plan for Your Child's Needs
Family law courts will want to ensure that the child will be well taken care of, so make it a point to plan for their continuing care and support. Do you have accommodations for their living situation? Do you have the financial resources to be responsible for a dependent? Do you have plans in place for their education, afterschool activities, child care, and more? You should be ready to articulate your preparations for your child's needs.
The way you convey yourself in court will make an impact. Even though court proceedings can be stressful and emotional, you must remain respectful to all parties involved, including the child's other parent, the judge, and your child. The judge will use your attitude to help them make the custody decision, so be sure to keep any negative feelings or outbursts at bay.
Be Honest with Your Expectations
As a parent, we understand how important winning custody is, but you also need to remind yourself if it's in your child's best interest. This is the standard that family law courts abide by and the most crucial aspect of a custody case. If you know that you have other responsibilities and cannot care for your child on your own, there is nothing wrong with joint custody. In fact, it's the arrangement that courts prefer as children have shown to thrive when they have a loving relationship with both parents. Do not view it as a loss but an opportunity to support your child better.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a father or need legal representation to protect your parental rights, Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa can help. Whether through negotiation or litigation, our fathers' rights lawyers are prepared to fight for the favorable outcome you are seeking.
Contact us online or call (305) 853-9161 today to discuss your case with a Miami-Dade fathers' rights attorney.