FATHERS REALLY DO WIN CUSTODY
One of the topics that comes up several times per week from prospective clients is “Do Dads really win custody?” And the follow up, “I’ve always heard that it is impossible for a man to get custody of his children.”
I’m here to tell you that that way of thinking is not remotely accurate and is archaic. It may have been accurate 20 years ago, but in today’s day and age, nothing can be further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that I have won custody just as much for men as I have women. Being a man or woman isn’t what the court looks at. They look to the law which says that the judge must determine custody based on “the best interests of the child” So what does this elusive term “best interests of the child” actually mean. It means just that. Which parent is a better fit to engage in the day to day rearing of the child and therefor who should be the primary parent.
Courts look at a number of factors when determining best interest. They will first look to who has been, historically, the custodial parent for the children. Status quo is big with the courts. With all things being the same, if mom worked and dad stayed home, Dad will end up being the primary parent and getting custody.
If it were that easy though, people would not be at the courthouse on this issue day in and day out. Sometimes it’s not easy to tell who was the primary parent was as both of the parents played a very active role in rearing the kids. What is a court to do in this instance? Sometimes, instead of naming a primary, they actually create a joint equal custody schedule.
The hard cases come when you clearly have a historical primary parent but for some reason or another, they are not fit to continue to be the primary parent. This happens in cases where the stay at home parent has drug or alcohol issues, mental health issues or they clearly lack the ability to coparent with the other parent. Courts often have psychologists and other experts (including people to talk to the child) to make help make custody decisions in difficult cases.
Several times I have won custody for dads against stay at home moms. Dad has historically worked and mom has stayed at home. However, due to issues with the mom (alcohol, drugs, and mental health issues) the court determines it is not in the child’s best interests for the historically primary parent to continue to be the primary parent. The court feels it’s better in the long run to place the child with the healthy stable parent than to continue to place the child with the unhealthy and unstable parent.
In the above cases where I’ve been successful, usually these cases end up in a long trial where evidence of instability is presented.
So the bottom line is that if you are a dad and you believe you have a custody case, don’t give up. Don’t give in. Let’s talk to see what the facts you have for a winning case. After all, nothing is more sacred than your child.