Although many people assume that moms have more child custody rights than dads, the truth is, U.S. custody laws don’t give mothers an edge in custody proceedings. Dad’s have the same rights. Fathers can win custody just the same as the mother could win custody rights. If the parent wants to play an active role in their child’s life and have custody, the parent should reach out and get help from the legal field.
Gender Laws In Courts Do Not Apply
Years ago courts followed the tender years doctrine, which was the reason for mothers getting custody. Gender roles have since shifted and the law now recognizes the importance of a fathers role in raising a child. Courts can no longer by law base custody on whether someone is a mom or a dad. Society still seems to have a preference towards mothers, so even though the laws have changed a father has to prepare a good case of why he should get custody over the mother. The best interest of the child must be the criteria for custody.
Determine The Best Interest of The Child
Best interests determinations are generally made by considering a number of factors related to the child’s circumstances and the parent or caregiver’s circumstances and capacity to parent, with the child’s ultimate safety and well-being as the top priority. Under Kentucky law, the judge is generally supposed to assume that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child unless a party convinces the judge otherwise. This allows children to grow up under the influence of both parents, which many psychologists say is the healthiest approach. The child’s “best interests” means that all custody and visitation discussions and decisions are made with the ultimate goal of fostering and encouraging the child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development into young adulthood.
A few factors for determining the best interest of a child
Although every state has its own list of factors, every state focuses on a few big factors in making the determination of what is best for the children. In a fathers rights custody cases a few factors are :
- Establish and maintain a positive relationship with your child – If you go to court, you’ll likely have to answer questions about how close you are to your child. Make sure you know their grade level, teachers’ names, interests and other details that show you’re an active part of their life. Even if the child’s other parent won’t let you see them, you should still make an effort to foster a relationship with your child. Any proof that the other parent got in the way of this happening could help your case. In some states, the child’s preference factors into the custody decision.
- Make sure you have room for the child at your home – A nice home always matters. It does not matter if it is a 2 bedroom condo or a 3,000 square foot home as long as the child has a separate bedroom, healthy food, nice furniture, and the house is clean and orderly.
What If My Child Has Special Needs?
A special needs child is a child who has unique issues which require special attention, including: Medical issues, Mental issues, and/or
Emotional health issues.
Usually, the unique care which the child requires has a dramatic impact on determining which parent is awarded child custody. For example, if a child has a physical impairment, a court may focus on whether the homes of the parents are easily accessible and safe for the child.
Although the child’s best interests will also be the first consideration in custody cases, a court is required to make the factors of medical attention and health of a special needs child be the primary focus of their decision.
Parents’ Mental Health and Intellectual Abilities Are Considered
Mental health could determine the types of custody a parent gets. If their condition affects their ability to maintain safe living quarters for the children, they might not get physical custody. If their condition impacts decision-making, they might not get legal custody. Physical disability of a parent will not be considered unless the court in some instance finds that there is a danger to the child. If there are mental issues with a parent such as schizophrenia, suicide attempts, the parent is unable to provide care for their child custody will not be considered for that parent.
Impact of A Stable Home Environment
Your home environment will impact child custody decisions made by a court judge. Family law courts consider your circumstances when establishing a standard for a stable home environment. An experienced family law attorney will help you determine how the courts may be influenced so that you provide the right evidence to support your case. The presence of step-children and other family members may also impact the decisions made by the courts. Has a parent moved 5 times in the past 5 years. Judge’s do not like when a parent constantly moves, changes the child’s school or moves in and out with multiple significant others. It’s ultimately up to the judges to decide on these and other aspects. Stability is very important. So it can be difficult to predict how family court judges will grant child custody depending on these and some of the following other factors: Has domestic violence been an issue? This one can make or break a case easily. If a parent has abused a spouse or a child, that parent likely has bigger issues in court than custody. A family law judge will oftentimes only give the abusive parent supervised visitation.
What is Cooperative Co-Parenting?
The bottom line cooperative co-parenting allows children to be children and adults to be their parents. Work hard to respect the other parent and his or her household. Agree that each parent has a right to privacy and do not intrude in his or her life. Show the court that you are willing to foster a good relationship between your child and the other parent as well as trying to work together and cooperate on child-rearing. Try to put adult disagreements aside and think of the child.
Whether you are the mother or the father going for full custody or joint custody, you should do everything you can to prepare for the child custody negotiations ahead of you. By making the best case for custody, you can reach the result you’re hoping for. Like alimony and other aspects of a divorce, child custody and support must be agreed upon by both parents. When disagreements arise, family law court judges must decide how parents will share custody rights. Parents need to understand how to present the evidence that will support their custody case.
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