How Dads Can Improve Their Changes of Winning Custody
While factors like jurisdiction can affect custody, the tips below tend to be universally applicable and bound to work in Alabama or any other state.
Pay Child Support Religiously
Fathers planning to get custody shouldn’t abandon their parental duties, including paying child support regularly and on time. This tip helps to maintain a solid track record that will help when you pursue custody.
Even when you don’t have a formal arrangement in place with your ex, keep good records and documentation that shows you support your children financially in a consistent manner. If you can’t keep up with child support payments but still want custody, you can ask for the judge to modify your support. Being consistent on your payments works in your favor as a supportive parent who is serious about their child’s wellbeing.
Child support payments aside, you need to also keep records of other non-financial support like visitation. The records should be detailed enough to show how many times you visit/see your children under current arrangements, where you meet, how much time you spend per visit, and related information.
Visitation records are supposed to demonstrate unmatched commitment and reliability as a parent.
Ideally, fathers who honor visitation arrangements without fail have a better chance of winning custody. What’s more, if you have proof that your partner denied you visitation, document such proof as well.
There are several tools available for recording visitations. They range from child custody applications to simple notebooks. It’s advisable to use apps with time and date stamps as such apps can collect information that can offer valid evidence in court.
Form a Strong Bond With Your Child
There’s no point in pursuing custody if you don’t take time to bond with your child. Even if you don’t see your child as much as you would wish, you should build and maintain a strong bond. In some cases, custody may be based on a child’s wishes. If a child wants to live with you, it will count in court. So, talk to your child often, prioritize visitation, pay for child support religiously and offer other forms of support. The goal is to ensure winning custody is in the best interests of your child.
Never Miss Important Events
There’s no good explanation why a parent should miss their child’s birthday or other important milestones like graduation, the first day of school, etc.
Missing critical life events shows a serious lapse in commitment. While there are valid reasons why a parent may not be able to attend a child’s school event, birthday, or graduation party, frequent occurrences will not play out well in a child custody battle.
Make Room For Your Child In Your Home
The judge will want to know if you have made space for your child in your home prior to being considered for custody. You should have a room that your child will stay in. If you stay in a tiny apartment, you need to think of getting a big space that will accommodate your child comfortably. Courts must get details about a child’s accommodation in a custody hearing. Plan to respond favorably to such questions. Instead of saying you are planning to move, have the space ready.
Plan For Other Needs
Having a dedicated living space for your child is a great start. However, you need to meet other needs. For instance, your child needs food, shelter, and education. Do you have the finances to meet those needs as well?
The judge needs to see a plan in place for meeting other needs. This may require getting additional resources if you have to (such as another job) just to show how serious you are about custody and your capabilities to meet every need.
Just because you want custody doesn’t mean your child doesn’t need the other parent. Judges look for maturity and a child’s best interests when deciding on custody. If you are outright disrespectful to your EX, such scenarios will work against you, especially if there is evidence.
Your attitude matters, and being disrespectful won’t be good for anyone, especially the child.
Seek Guidance from Those Who’ve Been Through Child Custody Battles
If you know a dad who has successfully won a child custody battle, it will help to find out how they did it. While fathers are increasingly being granted custody in Alabama and elsewhere, mothers still have the upper hand for obvious reasons. It helps to learn the strategies of those dads that have already done what you are attempting to do.
A seasoned Alabama divorce attorney can also help with first-hand legal advice, especially if they have won countless custody battles before for other dads.
Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes dads are guilty of pursuing custody to punish moms. This shouldn’t be your motive for seeking custody. You should look out for your child’s best interest first. Also, it helps to be honest about your capacity to cater to your child.
Courts don’t simply look at finances and past conduct. They also gauge how you will be able to handle the additional responsibilities daily while still working and doing other things. If you aren’t realistic with your abilities, you may not be granted custody.
Important Aspects To Win Custody
There are things that courts look for before granting custody to fathers. The above information summarizes those things. Generally, you should prepare meticulously to meet the requirements that judges look for before giving dads custody. This involves answering all questions from living space to financial preparedness and education.
You need legal help from a seasoned child custody attorney to ensure you don’t miss any important requirements for winning custody. For instance, it matters how busy you are and the safety of your home. A seasoned attorney will prepare you perfectly, ensuring you have the best chance of winning custody.
Long gone are the days where mothers would be granted child custody almost automatically. As are the days where all mothers would be stay-at-home moms and all fathers would be breadwinners. Different families have different arrangements, and as much as we have stay-at-home moms and dads, there are parents who work from home, children who are homeschooled, etc.
As the roles in relationships have shifted, so has the perspective that the mother is always the best option for the kids. As I like to say to the fathers that come to my office:
Do not assume that just because you are a dad that you do not have the same rights to the children as the mother. Even some of the most conservative judges are awarding custody to fathers now. Talking to a well-trained custody lawyer is imperative if you want and have what it takes to raise your child or children.
Tips For Fathers Who Want To Win Custody Cases
If you want to win custody, you need to pay close attention to details. Even if it is possible, that does not mean it will be easy. Most of all, it’s a good idea you make sure that what you do is really in your child’s best interest.
Here are 6 tips you can set in practice to get your children’s custody, as a dad:
- If you have superior earning power, use it to your advantage when presenting what you can do for the child or children.
- If you have remarried, make sure you are with a motherly person who can help raise your child or children.
- Make sure you have a lot of people who can testify as to your parenting skills and who will tell the court you are a great guy.
- Be everywhere the kid is. If the kid has an event, you are there, sitting in the first row.
- Be heavily involved in school events with the child. Make sure the teachers know you, have your cell phone number, and communicate with them two times per month at least concerning the welfare of your child.
- Be ready to explain why the mother is not the best person to raise the child. If she drinks, get evidence. If she does drugs, get evidence. Be prepared with ammunition to help your attorney.
Keep in mind that there are several arrangements that could work for you and your children, so make sure you consider all your possibilities. Most of all, always keep the Child’s best interest in mind.
If you are a dad who wants custody, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know the children’s doctors?
- Do you know the children’s dentist?
- Do you know the children’s teacher or daycare workers?
- Does the teacher or daycare worker know you?
- Are you involved in school events?
- Are you supportive of your children?
- Do you attend school events?
- Do you attend sports practices, games?
- Do you provide meals for the children?
- Do you do the children’s laundry?
- Are you actively involved in the education, school work, etc. for the children?
Contact an Experienced Alabama Family Lawyer
It’s not an easy process, but with the right family law attorney, you can leverage the ways that the situation is treated and come through the experience more financially prepared.