For a father, custody can 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 an 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
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.