Pursuing full custody as a father can seem to be a daunting task. Historically, fewer than 20% of fathers obtain custody of their children. Don’t let those statistics discourage you. Below is an explanation of several issues that the court looks at when making its determination and how you can make a better case for yourself.
Involvement is key
The court must consider the children’s best interests when making custody decisions. That means that you must show active involvement in your child’s life, and it’s best if you have a record of this involvement to back up your claims. The family court considers things like:
- Do your children’s coaches and teachers know who you are?
- Are you actively involved in school and extracurricular activities?
- Do you know your child’s interests and friends?
Motivation is a critical factor
The major reason for your decision to file for full custody must be that you believe it is in your children’s best interests. If there is even an inkling that something such as a desire to eliminate child support payments is the reason, then the court will not view that favorably. An attorney with experience in child custody matters can help you file your petition to make sure that you are making the best case for yourself.
One of the best things that you can do is speak with other single parents. Find as many as you can from varying different situations, and then make it a point to separate the emotion from their stories. As difficult as that will be, it’s a critical step that is the only way to get a true picture of what life as your child’s primary custodial parent will be like.
While the numbers may be low, there are many fathers across the country that succeed in their petition for full custody. Focusing on your child and his or her needs is the best way to move forward, especially during a tumultuous time, such as the end of a relationship or a change in living arrangements.