10 Child Custody Tips for Fathers

For a father, custody can be difficult to win, even though the courts do not discriminate against dads. Whether you are a father going for full custody or joint custody, you should be prepared for a difficult child custody battle, especially if the child's mother is also filing for custody. Consider the following tips to help a father get custody.

1

Pay Child Support Payments

Father and daughter reading a book
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A father who wants custody of a child should continue to make regular child support payments. If a father has an informal arrangement with the child’s mother, he should maintain records such as check receipts or a written letter from the child’s mother as to the child support arrangements and what's been given thus far. If a father is struggling with child support payments, request a modification, but if a father is able to make the payments, he should ensure he has a good track record of making payments.

2

Build a Strong Relationship

When a child is not in the father’s custody, fathers should call the child frequently and check in on the child’s day. A father may also stop by the child’s school and introduce himself to the administration. A father should check on a child’s progress often and ensure the child knows that he’s there to offer any assistance necessary.

3

Maintain Accurate Records

A father should maintain an accurate visitation schedule record to help win child custody. Fathers can capture accurate visitation records by developing and maintaining a parenting plan. A father can submit the parenting plan to the court when child custody is decided.

4

Attend Important School and Social Gatherings

It’s important for a father who wants custody to attend the child’s social, educational, religious and other important events as evidence of a continuing relationship with the child. Examples of important events are school plays, baptisms, birthday parties, and sporting events. A court will rely on this attendance as evidence of a meaningful relationship.

5

Prepare a Space For Your Child in Your Home

Even if a father lives in a small space, he should make a special place in his home for the child. A court will inquire about adequate living accommodations during all hearings for child custody. Fathers should be prepared to respond to the judge’s inquiry regarding housing plans.

6

Have a Plan

A judge will expect a father to be prepared for child custody, in case child custody is awarded. Fathers should compile intelligent responses to potential questions that are asked by a judge. For example, a judge will ask questions about living accommodations, the child's education including after-school activities and financial preparedness.

7

Be Respectful

A father who wants custody of a child should remember to always respect the mother of his child. The way a father treats the mother of his child may be a factor in determining child custody. Fathers who are disrespectful or rude to the child's mother will also affect the child, along with the father's chances of obtaining child custody.

8

Be Honest With Yourself

A father who wants custody of a child should realistically ask himself what he can handle. It's a fact that many fathers may have other responsibilities such as other children or multiple jobs. Multiple responsibilities may affect a father's ability to assume custody of a child, especially full custody.

9

When In Doubt, Ask Someone Wiser Than You

A father who wants custody of a child should speak to others who have been through the child custody process. A father who has been through the child custody process can offer insight and let a father who is going through the process know what to expect.

10

Consider Mediation or Arbitration

A father who wants custody of a child should consider mediation or arbitration, prior to undergoing an adversarial court hearing. In mediation or arbitration, cases are decided by a neutral third party. For a father, custody proceedings in a courtroom may be difficult to handle, so he may prefer the smaller, friendlier setting associated with mediation or arbitration.

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