While courts traditionally have leaned heavily towards giving custody to the mother, changes in public perception mean that it’s more possible than ever for Dad to become the residential parent. This isn’t the easiest road, but if you believe that it’s in your children’s best interest to live with you, then it’s well worth the battle.
Here are some tips worth following if you want custody of your children, from a Yahoo! Voices article by Doug Poe:
1. File for Custody. This suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but some men get so distraught over a divorce that they too quickly agree to terms that limit their parenting times.
2. Keep a journal. Keep a written record of all of your activities and interactions with your children. Be specific about when and where you picked them up from their mother. Try to update your journal daily, but enter logs at least twice each week. Take this step seriously. Keeping a thorough, accurate journal was the single most reason I was designated as residential parent in my divorce decree.
3. Be patient. The divorce proceedings will drag on. There are required mediation sessions, pre trials, hearings, and attorney meetings to endure by the time you finally get a court decision. Adhere to whatever parenting times are allotted to you from the first mediation. Don’t be willing to compromise with your soon-to-be ex just because you want the proceedings to end. You owe it to your children to be patient.
4. Never mention money. Your primary concern is time with your kids. Don’t mention child support or income or anything else related to money to your ex, your lawyer, or to a magistrate.
5. Be professional. Do not belittle your spouse to your lawyer, to her lawyer, to the magistrate, and certainly not to your children. Their bodies and minds are made up of both you and her. Don’t make them feel like her half of them is bad.
6. Attend doctor appointments, school functions, and any other events involving your children. You cannot be at everything, but make the time to go to as much as possible. Then be sure to document these dates in your journal.
7. Keep the new girlfriend out of the courtroom. You probably should stay away from any new romance, if possible, until after the divorce is final. Certainly do not bring any love interests to lawyer meetings, mediations, or hearings. Show the lawyers and the court that you’re strong on your own.
If you’re truly committed, it’s more possible than ever for fathers to gain custody of their children. Combine this advice with the help of an experienced family law attorney and you’ll be well on your way to a W in the courtroom.