A few decades ago, it was commonplace for judges to award dads weekend custody rights. There’s been a significant shift in perspectives as to what’s best for kids since then. Most judges now commonly award both parents as close to equal time with their child as possible.
There are, of course, exceptions to the unwritten rules cited above. Above all, judges are supposed to make decisions that they believe are in a child’s best interest. Many dads often find themselves having to justify why they’re the most fit to care for their child or at least just as capable as their mom.
What can fathers do to justify their argument for custody?
Dads are in a unique position compared to moms. Moms are presumed to be a child’s biological parent, whether they’re married or not. A woman’s husband is generally presumed to be the parent of any child she gives birth to if they’re married at the time. A man must establish his paternity by adding their name to the birth certificate or undergoing DNA testing if they’re not married to the mother at the time of their child’s birth. Dads don’t have any right to petition the court for custody until they establish their paternity.
A father may enhance his chances of securing custody by becoming more actively involved in their child’s life by:
- Getting to know their child on a deeper level, including their career aspirations and friends.
- Attending parent-teacher conferences and other school events.
- Taking a more active role in their extracurricular activities.
Fathers can also prove to the court that they’re taking the necessary steps to grow the time they spend with their child by not missing visitation appointments, making timely support payments and drafting a mock-up parenting plan.
It’s also likely to resonate with a judge that you’re looking to take a more active role in your child’s life if you can demonstrate that you’ve set up a separate space for them at your house. Being able to show that you and your co-parent can get along is important as well.
The thought of having to prove that you and your child share a solid foundation can seem daunting. You’ll need to be able to do so if you want to show that increased custody can only build on the foundation that you’ve already begun laying.