Tips to Help a Father Win Custody
In the past, mothers have had the power in the custody courtroom. The mother is often given custody as a result of female stereotypes and age-old parental roles. She is seen as nurturing, selfless, and “the primary parent” whereas fathers can be seen as careless and unfit to care for a child on his own. Though times have changed and these parental stereotypes have been proven inaccurate, fathers continue to fall short in the courtroom.
Joint custody is the most common decision made because it is thought that a child should be raised by both of his/her parents. Joint custody may allow for both parents to be in the child’s life, but not necessarily in equal amounts. Illinois ranks in the bottom five states for the amount of custody time allotted to fathers. These children only spend an average of 23.1 percent of their time each year with their dad, giving the mother the other 3/4 of their time. The United States may be moving towards eliminating gender bias; however, the state of Illinois is in 47th place in the U.S. for the amount of custody time fathers are provided.
Though joint custody is often best for the child, not all situations allow for this to happen. Extenuating circumstances force judges to choose one parent over the other, leading to the impossible choice of giving full custody to one parent. According to the 2016 U.S. Census Report, fathers only win primary custody 17.5 percent of the time. Laws may have been passed stating that there is no custody preference for women over men, but the data shows otherwise.
Four Tips to Win Custody
There is ample evidence stating the benefits of a father-figure in a child’s life. Whether you are trying to win joint custody or primary custody, follow these tips to ensure your success:
- Never miss a child support payment: A judge wants to see that you are financially responsible and capable of supporting a child. Paying child support payments in a timely manner provides you with evidence to show that you can support your child.
- Maintain a strong and healthy relationship with your child: Though you may not live with your child, you should continue to have a relationship with them. Be sure to call them and see them on a regular basis, including attending school and social events, to ensure that your relationship remains strong despite not physically being with them as frequently.
- Have a safe space for your child: A judge’s primary concern is the safety of the child, thus you will be asked about your living situation. Set aside space for them in your house so that they feel comfortable and safe in your home as well. This shows that while you may be building a new life for yourself, your child remains your primary concern.
- Be respectful to the mother: Though it may be difficult, being respectful to the child’s mother is crucial. This shows that you are mature and able to maintain a relationship with your past partner for your child’s sake.
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Custody battles can be stressful and frustrating, especially when dealing with an ex-spouse. Our Kane County family law attorney has experience fighting for custody in courtrooms throughout Illinois. For legal guidance call Shaw Sanders, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today to receive your free consultation.