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 other parent is also filing for custody. Make the best case for custody with thorough advance preparation.

1

Pay Child Support Payments

Whether you want full or joint custody, continue to make regular child support payments. If you have an informal arrangement with the child’s other parent, maintain records such as check receipts or a written letter from the other parent. If you are struggling to make payments, request a modification. If you are able to make payments, make sure you have a good track record.

2

Build a Strong Relationship

When a child is not in your custody, call frequently and check in. Stop by the child’s school and introduce yourself to the administration. Check on your child’s progress often and ensure the child knows that you are there to offer assistance and support.

3

Maintain Accurate Records

Keep an accurate visitation schedule record to help win child custody. You can capture accurate visitation records by developing and maintaining a parenting plan. Submit the parenting plan to the court when child custody is discussed.

4

Attend Important Events

It’s important to attend your children’s social, educational, religious and other important events as evidence of a continuing relationship with them. This could mean 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 you live in a small space, you should make a special place in your home for your child. A court will ask about adequate living accommodations during all hearings for child custody. You should be prepared to respond to the judge’s inquiries regarding housing.

6

Have a Plan

A judge will expect you to be prepared for custody if it is awarded. Compile intelligent responses to potential questions that are asked by a judge. For example, a judge may ask questions about living accommodations, the child's education (including after-school activities), and financial preparedness.

7

Be Respectful

Always respect your child's other parent. The way you treat them may be a factor in determining child custody. Being disrespectful or rude to the child's other parent will affect your child, along with your chances of obtaining custody.

8

Be Honest With Yourself

Ask yourself, realistically, what you can handle. It's likely that you have other responsibilities, such as other children or multiple jobs. These responsibilities may affect your ability to assume custody, especially full custody.

9

Gather Information

Speak to others who have been through the child custody process. Someone who has experienced the process can offer insight and let you know what to expect.

10

Consider Mediation or Arbitration

Consider mediation or arbitration prior to undergoing an adversarial court hearing. In mediation or arbitration, cases are decided by a neutral third party. Custody proceedings in a courtroom may be difficult to handle, and you may prefer the smaller, friendlier setting associated with mediation or arbitration.

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