In custody the truth is fathers have the same rights as mothers but unfortunately most fathers don't take the time to learn what they can do to enforce their parental rights.
However, unless you take the time to learn the basic custody laws for your state and follow certain steps, no attorney can help you.
This video is for fathers who are going through a custody battle with their ex and want more parenting time with their children or are trying to get joint custody. This could be in the initial custody hearing or modification request made by either the father or mother. The father may feel like they won’t be able to do this because they have not been the primary caretaker of the child historically. The fact of the matter is there is a realistic possibility that you will get shared custody of your child, visitation, decision making and time-sharing.
Most courts use the "best interest of the child" rule to determine custody and time-sharing.
Here are 3 Steps to follow before appearing in custody court.
1. Identify what you are going to change now that you and the parent are not together. For example if you have traveled a lot for work when you were married to your spouse. And you have not been able to spend time with the mother or child, you need to present to the judge how you are going to modify your travel schedule so you are there for your children. Is your job going to be flexible so that you will be able to modify that schedule. Can you go in early or work or leave early.
As any judge or expert will tell you, when children go through the transition when their parents are splitting up, they need consistency and stability. During your custody trial you need to convince the judge that you will be able to provide that consistency and stability even though in the past the other parent has been the one who has picked up the lion’s share of the responsibilities.
So if you need to get a letter from your supervisor or a commitment that he or she will come to court to testify that you will have the flexibility then you need to do this. You have to present to the court how you are going to change things in the future.
2. Since you have never been the primary caretaker or you are a new father you can invest in some parenting classes to show the judge that you want to get the skills you need to give the kids the best care that they need. This may not be necessary if you have been a father for a long time, you may not need parenting classes. If you are a new Dad or have a newborn, this is persuasive evidence to show the court that you are willing to do whatever it takes to be the best father for your children.
3. Once you show the judge you are going to get the training you need and make adjustments to your life for the best interests of your children, you need to start walking the walk immediately, even before the case starts, or when your marriage is already falling apart and you are comtemplating divorce, you need to do what you need to do right away.
Start asking the mother for more time with your children and you need to get on a consistent schedule that is best for them and not what’s best for your schedule or for the other parent’s schedule. You also should document when you ask the other parent for more time. You can use texts or email as evidence in court if you are asking the kids for the weekend or want to take them on vacation and the other parent is turning you down, by all means save those texts and emails.
Start gathering you proof to show this to the judge. If your custody case goes on for a year, you need to start spending as much time with your children as possible. If you do not make every effort to do this or you are turning down offers to spend more time with you children it will not look good to the court. If on the other hand you are asking constantly spend time with your children and you do spend more time with them, that will help you persuade the judge that you are going to do what it takes increase your chances immensely to get joint custody or more parenting time.
So in summary it is a 3-part approach.
Showing the judge that you willing to make the changes that you need to make that you did not do in the past when you were married. Get whatever training or education you need to make sure that all the needs of your children are met, whether it be a class or even reading a book on good parenting.