What Every Father Should Know when Fighting for Custody of Their Child
It is no secret that the courts tend to grant mothers primary physical custody when it comes to divorce. As a divorced father, this was the hardest thing that I ever had to deal with in my life. The thought of not waking up and coming home to my little girl everyday was sickening. In the grand scheme of things I was fortunate to get joint physical custody, 50/50 from the beginning and after nearly 3 years of preparation I was able to get primary physical custody of my daughter, 75/25, and here is how I did it…
Find a Good Divorce Lawyer
It is estimated that women initiate the divorce process over 70 percent of the time. So what does this mean for you men out there? That you are already behind the eight ball and you have a lot of work ahead of you. Your spouse has been planning and preparing for this moment for a long time and may have alleged many things against you so now it is your job to disprove them and begin to build your defense. In almost all cases you should look to a divorce lawyer to help you out and the best way to find a good one is to talk to people you know and trust. You only have a certain amount of time to respond so don’t hesitate.
Control Your Anger
Yes, you are going to be angry but keep it under control. Save it for the punching bag at the gym or the racquetball court. Be civil and business-like when talking to you spouse, you never know who is listening or in my case recording.
Keep Up On Being a Father
You have every right to see your child as your spouse does. Be careful to what you agree to before the divorce because it could bite you in the ass later. If you want joint physical custody then from day one be with your child 50 percent of the time. How do you think it would look when you are in front of the judge and ask for 50/50 and the best you have been doing is 4 days a month? Children need a safe, clean, stable, and loving environment to grow in – so provide it! If your child is in school, live in that school district. From here on out it is all about the kid.
Build Your Case
Of course you will have a lot of help from your attorney here but you don’t have to wait until you get one to start building your case, in many instances this could take years (modification to custody agreement). I knew in the beginning that I would not get more than 50/50 so I did not push it. But after months, which turned into years, of watching my ex drag our daughter from one boyfriends’ house to another amongst other negative things I made it my mission to try and get primary physical custody. This is where you get your hands dirty a bit. Here are a few tips to help:
- Remember to always put your child interests first! This isn’t about hurting your spouse it is about doing what is right for your child.
- Read number 1 again – this is critical.
- Keep a journal that details phone conversations, change of address, job changes, days late or missed when spouse was supposed to pick up the child, hostile behavior from your spouse, etc. I did this for 3 years, it can come in handy when your lawyer is putting together your case.
- Record conversations between you and your spouse, especially if she has been lying. Check the laws in your state on what you need to do to make this legal. In my state only one party needed to know and that was me. However, I did inform her in the beginning to expect being recorded so she knew and it would strengthen my stance because she continued to spout the venom she did knowing it could go to court.
- Consider getting a home study. These are not cheap, however, if you are being wrongly accused you can help yourself out greatly by getting a home study and paying for it. Don’t make it about money… make it about what is best for the child.
- Don’t expect too much. I thought I had a pretty good case with my ex-spouse exhibiting mental illness, instability, violence, etc but chances of me getting full custody would have been near impossible so don’t over do it.
Any divorce is difficult and it is even worse when children are involved. No loving parent wants to see their child put in the middle all of this and unfortunately they will be affected by it not matter what. The point is to do what you feel is best for your child and get outside help if necessary. Emotion needs to be put aside, logic must prevail and guide the process. In my case I had to go back and do a modification to our child custody agreement but do you think that my ex wanted to go in front of the judge with 12 address changes in three years, 3 suicide attempts, not picking up her daughter at her scheduled time, being late, etc? Of course she didn’t and if it weren’t for the journaling and recording I would not have been able to prove any of it. Fathers can win child custody!
Here is some additional help for Winning Child Custody.