Fathers have just as much a right to obtain custody of their children as mothers do. However, many fathers face challenges when trying to gain full or partial custody of their children. Finding the best child custody lawyer and taking steps to show you are capable of caring for your children can help strengthen your arguments for gaining custody. These tips provide guidance about what to do if you are seeking custody of your children.
Stay Current with Child Support Payments
Although child support does not affect your right to obtain custody of your children, a judge may interpret failing to keep up with payments as a lack of interest in caring for your child. If you have been ordered to pay support, make sure to do so on time. If you and your co-parent have an informal child support arrangement, keep records and proof of payment.
Cultivate a Strong Relationship with Your Child
Regardless of your child’s age or how much parenting time you currently have, it is critical to build and maintain a solid relationship with your child. Communicating regularly, whether by phone, text, videoconference, or in person, shows your child you care about them and keeps you up-to-date on what’s going on in their life. Don’t forget to make time for fun activities and provide emotional support when they need it. If you have family or close friends in the area, help your child cultivate their relationships with your loved ones as well.
Stay Involved and Attend Important Events
Showing a commitment to supporting the social, educational, and religious aspects of your child’s life can help you make a case for custody. Parent-teacher meetings, doctor’s appointments, sporting events, school plays, playdates, and birthdays are just a few examples of important activities that can help strengthen your bond with your child and show you are involved in their life.
To demonstrate your involvement in your child’s life, it is a good idea to maintain records of the time you spend with them. Keep a calendar of your visitation schedule and parenting time, your parenting plan, and vacations. You should also document any events or meetings you attend that involve your child. Good child custody lawyers will advise you on exactly what to document and the best way to keep records of your involvement with your child.
Prepare a Space in Your Home for Your Child
All children need their own space where they can spend time relaxing and playing. The court will want to know about how your home is set-up and whether your child has a room of their own. Even if you live in a small apartment, creating a small space for your child to enjoy is essential.
Create a Plan for Your Child’s Needs
Staying on top of all aspects of your child’s care shows that you are dedicated to providing for them to the best of your ability. Write down your plans for their education, child care, after-school activities, and health care. Having a plan for continuing emotional and financial support shows a judge that you are willing to do whatever it takes to give your child a stable and happy life.
Custody battles are often fraught with emotion and can be very contentious. However, it is vital to show respect to your co-parent and the court. Do not badmouth your co-parent in front of your children or in court proceedings. Judges definitely take your attitude into account when determining custody arrangements, so stay positive and polite.
If you and your co-parent cannot communicate in a civil manner, have your family law attorney handle communications during negotiations and proceedings. It is also important to remember that you and your co-parent share a lifelong commitment to your child, so it is best to make the effort to get along.
If you are a father who is interested in gaining custody of your children, our child custody lawyers offer a free consultation and are happy to answer any questions you may have.