- Written by Kevin Hickey
Back in the day, it was almost certain that the mother would get sole custody of the children. The courts based the decision that being in the mother’s care was in the best interest of the children on a doctrine that originated in the United States in 1881 known as the tender years doctrine. This was based on the societal perception that mothers were best equipped to meet the children’s needs, but these days that perception is changing because many times the best interest of the children is not always with the mother. Earlier this year, Pew Research Center released a study about today’s American dads. The research revealed that in 2016 the amount of time a father spends caring for children has tripled since 1965. As moms' and dads' roles change with the times, it is only natural that the courts have evolved from a doctrine established over a century ago. Many studies have been conducted regarding the advantages of the involvement of a father in child development. One such study from www.childwelfare.gov found the following:
- Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes.
- Children are more likely to be emotionally secure.
- Father’s involvement instills confidence in their children to explore their surroundings.
- Children are less likely to get in trouble at home, school or in the neighborhood.
The benefits of a father’s involvement in his child’s life is endless. To read the full document, click here.
Are you facing a custody battle? If so, follow these tips to help you win your case:
- Be Present – All too often fathers leave the family home and become absent in their children’s lives during the divorce process. Most of the time, fathers think they are doing the right thing to keep the peace with the mother during the divorce, but doing so can actually harm your chances of gaining custody. I always advise dads to stay involved with their children’s day-to-day activities---pick them up from school or daycare on a regular basis, attend all school functions, doctor’s appointments, anything that involves your child’s well-being. This lets your children know that no matter what is going on between their mother and you, you will be there for them. This also lets the people also in your child’s life aware that you are around and involved proving that you will do whatever necessary to remain a part of your child’s life.
- Have Good Character Witnesses -- Establishing that you are a good parent through the eyes of others is vital to winning any custody battle. These witnesses are established from being involved in your child’s life as mentioned above, co-workers, neighbors and anyone that knows your character as a responsible, involved parent. They can either speak on your behalf in court or write affidavits about you to be presented to the judge. A judge will strongly consider the character witness statements when determining child custody.
- Negotiate – You would be surprised at how many times a case can be negotiated before going to court. Many parents are able to come to a decision regarding their own custody agreement without having a judge decide. A successful parenting agreement is the end goal of all custody battles.