In today’s modern world, fathers have the chance of being awarded the Custodial Parent of their children after a divorce or separation just as much as mothers do.
What is a Custodial Parent
Custody agreements and court rulings aren’t based on gender. They’re decided by looking at multiple factors. Most importantly, it’s what’s best for the child that matters most.
If you’re a dad who wants to get custody of your child, here are five important things you should understand about custody laws.
1. There Are Different Types of Custody
The two types of child custody are known as legal custody and physical custody.
Either one can involve sole custody for one parent or joint custody between the two parents.
Physical custody refers to which custodial parent the child resides with.
Sole custody is typically awarded when a parent is deemed unfit to raise his or her child.
Joint custody refers to a situation in which both parents jointly share the legal and/or physical custody of their child. With joint custody, both parents work together to make major decisions about their child’s life and agree on when the child will visit each parent.
2. Courts Usually Follow the Best Interests of the Child
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, if a child custody case goes to court, the majority of courts will follow the standard of looking at what’s best for the child.
A judge will look at several factors to determine a child’s best interests. Those factors include looking at the wishes of the child, the wishes of the parents, the relationship of the child with his or her parents, the child’s relationship with his or her siblings, and the child’s ability to adjust to a different home, school, and community.
The mental and physical health of the child and both parents will also be taken into account.
3. Custodial Parent Agreements Don’t Have to Go Through the Courts
If you and your ex still have a good relationship, or at the very least, you are able to put aside your differences to determine what’s best for your child, you can come up with a custody arrangement by yourselves.
This can work well as long as both you and your ex follow the rules that you put in place. But it’s often worth turning a custody agreement into a court order to ensure that both parents follow the set rules.
If you proceed without a court order, both parents have equal rights to custody, which means either parent can take physical possession of the child at any time. Having said that, if the action of taking the child without the other parent’s consent isn’t reasonable, it can be held against the parent if the case goes to court.
4. You Can Better Fight a Child Custody Battle with an Attorney on Board
When you and your partner aren’t on agreeable terms, it will be difficult to come to a custody arrangement that suits you, your ex, and your child.
Therefore, if the matter goes to court, you need to make sure you hire an experienced lawyer, as your local child custody attorney will have expertise in the legalities concerning child custody and will be able to help you explore your options and fight for custody.
So, if you’re engaged in a child custody battle with your ex, it’s crucial that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
5. Child Custody Court Orders Can Be Changed
Lastly, you should know that child custody orders can be changed.
At the request of you or the other parent, a judge may change a custody order at any time as long as the change is what’s best for the child.