Tips for Dads Wanting To Earn Custody

16 October 2014
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Here is hoping you never have to be in a custody battle, and that you and your spouse can work out custody matters peacefully and effectively in the best interest of your child. But, sometimes a custody battle is unavoidable. And historically, family court tends to rule in favor of the mother in custody matters. But times are changing, and in many households across the country, fathers are the primary caregivers. If you want to win custody of your child, here are some helpful tips:

1. Get your finances in order. While money isn’t everything, it can help create a secure environment for your child. If you make a good and consistent living, and you’re able to provide your child with a comfortable living space, an opportunity for a good education, and meet miscellaneous financial needs (food, clothing, extra curricular activities), then the court may consider you a favorable candidate for custody.

2. Pay child support. Have a record of consistency. Paying child support not only shows that you care about your child enough to offer financial support, but it shows the court that you’re willing to comply with court-mandated sanctions. If a judge sees that you fought, refused, or were inconsistent with payment, that may work against you in a custody battle.

3. Attend school and extracurricular functions. Get involved with your child! Regardless of how much money you make, if you haven’t invested time in your child’s life, then you probably aren’t a good candidate for custody. Go to those basketball games and piano recitals! Your time is the most valuable thing you can give a child, and a judge really considers this in custody matters.

4. Make space for your child in your home. While not everyone has the luxury of an extra bedroom, be sure to designate a private space for your child in your home. Couch surfing might be OK for your buddy for a couple of nights, but it’s not OK for your kid. Give your child a space he/she can call his/her own, even if that means making a room dual use (like converting half of your home office into your kid’s bedroom).

5. Maintain accurate records. Maintaining accurate records–of your own finances, of your child support payments, of your child’s medical history and doctors’ names–not only helps keep you organized and preempts unnecessary disputes between you and your ex, but it shows the judge that you’re organized, responsible, and just plain old have your stuff together.

6. Be consistent. With your scheduling, your availability, your methods for disciplining your child. When a child’s parents have split, consistency can be a very healthy and grounding factor.

7. Develop a close and honest relationship with your child. In the end, the most important thing in custody is a healthy relationship with your child. Keep the lines of communication open with your child so you can make adjustments to your custody arrangements if necessary.

8. Remain civil with your child’s mother.  A parent that demonstrates a willingness to communicate with the other parent on matters pertaining to the child and holds no grudges against the other parent when it comes to matters of the child demonstrates civility and maturity to a judge.  Essentially a parent who post-divorce will not hold the child “hostage” or use as a pawn to annoy the ex. In other words, learn how to play nice!

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