As the once clearly defined boundary between gender roles fade, and as women place more emphasis on their careers, fathers are taking on new roles in the household and, subsequently, playing larger parts in the lives of their children. As a result, when divorce rolls around, most men are unlikely to sit back and remain quiet as gender-biased courts award the majority of custody to the mom, as many are apt to do. Instead, most fathers today fight for their rights to equal or more custody. That said, they still have a long ways to go to make the courts hear them.
Though courts aren’t as biased as they once were, and though many family law judges recognize that dads, too, are great parents, men still have an uphill battle in family court. To win the desired amount of custody, men must tread carefully and avoid making costly mistakes. If you are going through an intense custody situation, or if you plan to embark on one in the future, take the following advice from Cordell & Cordell to heart:
Do Not Move Out of the Family Home
It’s no secret that divorce causes an unbearable amount of tension – so much so that you may want to escape it by moving out of the family home before the divorce proceedings even begin. HG.org urges you to stay. If you move out of the family home, the courts may view that as your leaving the family. Regardless of how bad your situation is, it is imperative that you maintain an ongoing relationship with your children throughout the entire divorce process. If absolutely necessary, talk to your attorney about getting temporary orders drawn up.
Be Careful About the Information You Choose To Share
One of the biggest issues Cordell and Cordell has to deal with is clients sharing too little information. There may be facts you are hesitant to share with your attorney for fear they will hurt your case, but the only facts that can truly damage your case are those of which your attorney has no knowledge. By sharing all with your lawyer, he or she can adequately prepare your case and have a defense ready when the information inevitably comes to light.
On the same token, stay mum with most everyone else. Do not communicate with your spouse’s lawyer unless you do so through your own attorney. Though you may still have to live with your spouse, try to refrain from discussing too much her, and definitely do not get into a heated argument with her. Do not air your dirty laundry on social media or speak negatively about your spouse to your children or family friends. Take proactive measures to keep the details of your divorce as private as possible. If you fail to do so, the courts may use others’ testimonies against you when determining custody.
Be Willing To Work With Your Ex
One factor that many courts consider when awarding custody is a parent’s willingness to collaborate with the other parent. Family judges like to see that both parents are willing to work with the other if one needs to change up the custody schedule a bit, or if one wishes to take the child on a vacation. They also like to see that parents can discuss issues related to the child, such as where the child will go to school and what extracurricular activities the child will participate in, and come to a mutual decision regarding said issues. If the court suspects that you will pose a problem once the custody orders are drawn up, it may award you less custody than you want or deserve. Though you may not like your ex, be as cordial as possible with her throughout the duration of your divorce.
Custody is the most sensitive issue in any divorce case involving children, which is why most courts have done away with the gender-biased approach of awarding sole or most custody to mothers. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have your work cut out for you. Avoid the above three mistakes and work with an experienced lawyer to increase your odds of obtaining a successful outcome.