On Equal Footing
Contrary to popular belief, fathers are not at an inherent disadvantage in divorce cases. Both parents are on equal footing when a judge is deciding on custody. Many other factors can come into play, however, including the level of involvement each parent had in the child’s life up until that point. Today, mothers have more commonly acted as the child’s primary caregiver in divorce cases. This dynamic is changing as more and more women stay in the workforce and stay at home dads become more common.
Fathers also do not have any privileges mothers don’t have. A father is still responsible for providing for his child and being involved in his or her life. A father who does not get custody of the child will get appropriate parenting time instead. This is a right that should always be exercised. Failing to exercise your parenting time rights can have a negative impact on your child, and this could prompt the court to limit or restrict your rights going forward.
The Custody Question
As a general rule of thumb, the judge will make a custody decision that is in the best interests of the child. All other factors being equal, both mother and father have an equivalent chance of getting custody. But in many cases, the best custody arrangement is clear. When one parent has been the child’s primary caregiver, that parent stands a better chance of getting custody, especially if the child is very young.
Fathers can get custody if it is in the child’s best interests. If the father had been very involved in the child’s life and is best able to meet the child’s needs, the judge may grant the father sole or joint custody. In other cases, the mother may get custody if she was and continues to be the parent best able to meet the child’s needs or if the child can’t live safely with the father. The impact of the parent on the child’s life, not the gender of the parent, matters most in custody cases.
Speak with an attorney if you are a father seeking custody. Although fathers are not disadvantaged in custody cases, there may be other factors in your case that will influence the judge’s decision. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase your chance of getting custody. An attorney can identify these steps and help you take them.
Do you have questions about fathers’ rights? Williams Law Group, LLC can help you make sure your custody rights are defended. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.