How Dads Can Improve Their Chances of Getting Custody

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    When fathers go through a divorce, they can feel a great deal of stress. They may fear that they will lose custody of their child. The myth that “mothers always come out on top in custody disputes” fuels these concerns.

     

    In reality, it does not matter whether the parent seeking child custody is the father or mother. Instead, what matters is that the child’s best interests are served by the custody arrangement.

     

    If you are a father going through a divorce who has questions about how child custody works, here are a few tips for improving your chances of getting custody of your child. (Here, we focus on Arizona law.)

     

    1. Highlight your positive relationship with your child.

     

    When parents divorce, two types of child custody must be determined:

     

    • Legal decision-making authority – A parent’s right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care and other important matters.
    • Parenting time – A parent’s right to live with and spend time with the child.

     

    You can read more about these two types of custody at WomensLaw.org.

     

    A court must focus on what is in the best interests of the child when it determines parenting time or legal decision-making authority. Section 25-403 of the Arizona Revised Statutes lists the factors relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being which the court will consider.

     

    For instance, one factor the court will consider is the parent’s relationship with the child. As such, it is very important that you present evidence to the court which shows that you are a loving, caring and capable parent with a strong relationship with your child. Your child’s teachers, counselors and other parents may all be able to testify in support of you.

     

    2. Stay out of trouble.

     

    It almost goes without saying: If you are seeking custody of your child, you must refrain from participating in any illegal activity.

     

    Additionally,  you cannot engage in any behavior or activities that could make a court question your ability to be a fit parent such as:

     

    • Having an affair
    • Abusing drugs or alcohol
    • Losing your temper
    • Failing to pay your bills.

     

    If your Facebook account, for example, shows that you spend many hours away from home, hanging out at bars or clubs, it will send the wrong message to the court.

     

    Remember: The court is looking at your ability to be a parent and to provide a stable environment for your child.

     

    3. Hire an experienced child custody attorney.

     

    In addition to being a great parent and staying out of trouble, you can also improve your chances of being awarded custody of your child by hiring an experienced child custody attorney.

     

    Your lawyer can highlight your parenting skills, discuss your ability to control your emotions, stress your dependability and show to the court that you can provide a stable and loving environment for your child. An attorney can also work with experts who can testify about your fitness as a parent.

     

    This entry was not reviewed by a licensed attorney but posted on behalf of the firm for general information