As a father, you have just as much right to full custody of your children as a mother. But if this is something you want to pursue, it’s going to require a very thorough and convincing case on your part.
Understanding What Full Custody Is
Custody is obviously a hot button issue when it comes to divorce. In fact, it’s probably the most important and integral element of a divorce – even more so than finances. (You can always go on to make a lot more money and improve your financial situation after divorce, but your kids are permanent. They need what’s best for them now and always.)
While every state is different, there are several different types of custody. There’s legal custody and physical custody. There’s sole custody and joint custody. There’s even grandparent visitation and custody.
Sole custody, also known as full custody, is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in divorce situations where one spouse has concerns about the other spouse’s ability to be a good parent. But if you’re going to go down this road, you better be sure it’s what you want.
Before asking for full custody, make sure you understand what you’re requesting. Full custody means being a solo parent. It makes you responsible for all aspects of your child’s life 24 hours per day.
In other words, having full custody isn’t something to take lightly. You become the one who is 100 percent responsible for your child – no other legal support system is in place. Sure, you can always get help from your parents, aunts and uncles, friends, etc. However, in the eyes of the legal system, full custody means you are totally responsible for your children.
3 Tips for Seeking Full Custody as a Dad
Sole custody is necessary in certain situations. If you deem that it’s the best path to pursue, you’ll want to proceed with precision. As a dad, you unfortunately might face some circumstances that make it feel like you’re walking uphill. However, your status as a dad should not technically impact the outcome of custody.
“Legally, states have laws that prohibit gender-based rulings in custody cases. Having said that, the data doesn’t lie. Mothers are almost always the benefactors of sole custody rulings. So while you have a fair shot, it’s hard to shake the idea that there’s a subconscious prejudice lying beneath the surface,” says attorney Rowdy G. Williams.
As a dad, here are several things you can do to beat the odds and potentially win sole custody of your kids:
1. Orient Your Life Properly
The most important thing you can do is orient your life properly so that you’re able to care for your children well. Not only does this matter in terms of giving your children a safe and healthy life, but you also have to prove it to the courts. Here are some examples of orienting your life properly:
- Rearrange your work schedule so that you’re working more traditional hours while the kids are in school and are able to be home with them before and after school.
- Remodel or modify your home so that you have enough space for your children to live comfortably and safely. Remove anything that could be a risk to your children.
- Keep a journal to document how you care for your children. Make notes about feeding, doctor’s appointments, school requirements, etc.
Little steps like these show your competence as a parent and help you communicate your care and responsibility for them.
2. Prepare a Parenting Plan
It’s wise to come up with a formal parenting plan. Typically, in joint custody cases, this involves working with your spouse to explain how you’ll share duties, expenses, and responsibilities. However, if you’re aiming for sole custody, you’ll want to work with your attorney to come up with a parenting plan that shows you’re capable of handling everything on your own.
3. Trust Your Attorney
Speaking of your attorney, trust them! Your legal team is experienced and qualified to handle your case. Give them the facts, explain your desires and expectations, and allow them to go to work for you.
Adding it All Up
Just because you’re a dad, doesn’t mean you have to give in to the fact that moms typically win sole custody of their kids. If you feel that sole custody is the best route, pursue it. Hire a good attorney, get your information together, and build a case so that your kids can live the best life possible.