If you're a dad going through a divorce, you might be worried that you'll never see your kids anymore or that you won't have any custody rights. While in time of the past, courts may have been more likely to side with the mother in custody battles, good fathers now have a very good chance of winning more time with their kids.
You'll have to put in some time and effort with your lawyer to represent yourself well. But there are some other things you can do to put yourself in the best position possible. Remember that courts decide custody arrangements based on the best interest of the child. It's important that you put your best for foot forward when demonstrating your ability to provide for the well-being of your children.
These tips will help you in your fight to get more time with your kids, especially if you hope to have primary physical custody or full custody.
1. Find a Home Close By
Divorce can affect kids in different ways, but one of the ways to reduce to impact is to make sure that their day-to-day routine does not change much. If you are moving out of the house, don't move across town or to another city. Instead, look for a place that is in the same school district. This way, if you are fighting for primary physical custody, your kids won't have to change schools.
Keeping the same school district and neighborhood means less upheaval in the life of the child. Your willingness to purchase or rent a home close by shows you are putting your children first in your decision of where to live.
Living close by may also decrease your child support payment if your child spends enough overnight stays at your home. Overnight stays are not usually numerous when a parent lives too far away from the school district.
2. Pay What You've Been Told to Pay
Many divorces begin with a temporary custody agreement until the final agreement can be drawn up. Sometimes, this agreement takes months. Fathers are often asked to pay child support from the beginning of a separation. If you have not been supporting your family or making mandatory payments on time, you will have a hard time winning any custody battles.
If you can, go the extra mile by offering to pay for things like extra-curricular fees and similar expenses to show your willingness and ability to provide for the needs and development of your children. If you've been putting money away for college, these accounts can also be evidence of your ability to plan for the future.
3. Be Present
It can be tough to be on the scene all the time when you're working full time, but when you're working for custody, do everything you can to be there for your kids. Sometimes, mothers are more hands-on with the day-to-day details of a child's life, especially if she only worked part time or stayed at home. Successful fathers:
  • •Know teachers’ names and how their children are doing in school. Attend parent-teacher conferences when you can.
  • •Are prompt for pick-up and drop-off appointments. This includes being on time dropping kids off when they are staying with the other parent.
  • •Know their child's medical history and medications. If your child needs to go to a doctor's appointment, you are able to make it happen.
Show up when you say you will, and make sure that the people in your community know you and your commitment to your children, even when it is not convenient for you.
4. Get and Stay Employed
If you don't have a job, don't be picky about finding one. If you currently have a job but want to find something else, remember that a custody case is not the time to look for another job. Employment and financial ability are an important part of determining a person's ability to have custody over their children. Stick with your current job throughout the case and try not to miss days or be late for work.
5. Demonstrate Your Ability to Keep a Healthy Relationship
Divorce is common and nearly everyone will expect you to move on from your past relationship with your now-ex-spouse. You don't have to be in a relationship to get a better custody agreement, but don't be afraid of committing to someone new if it seems like the right thing for you. A solid, steady, ongoing relationship is usually a good thing, so don't postpone big life choices like getting engaged or married.
If you are a caring, able father, don't discount your ability to get plenty of time with your children. Many fathers still assume that the courts won't be on their side, so they don't fight at all. However, putting in your best effort can pay off for the benefit of yourself and of your kids. Contact us at Hart Law Offices, PC for more information on your custody case.