The question of whether family courts are biased against fathers when awarding child custody is one that has caused much soul searching in the field of family law, here in Arkansas and across the nation. Fathers’ rights advocates frequently point to statistics that claim fathers are awarded sole physical custody of their kids only 10 percent of the time, and joint physical custody only 20 percent of the time.
Whatever the true numbers, it’s clear that dads are often the underdog when it comes to child custody decisions. However, the problem is not so insurmountable that fathers have no options. There are specific, practical things dads can do to improve their chances of being awarded full or equal physical custody, as appropriate.
According to a veteran divorce lawyer who blogs for the Huffington Post, most judges aren’t truly biased. Over the past few decades, the fathers’ rights movement has helped our courts improve by creating an environment more dedicated toward making child custody decisions based on objective factors that demonstrate what situation would be in the best interest of the child or children.
There may be a few bad apples, but the majority of family court judges seek to determine the child’s best interest. What they’re looking for is evidence of whether each parent has been actively involved in the children’s daily lives.
Have you been involved in parenting your kids on a daily basis? Do you drive them to school, help with their homework or attend parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings? Do you make their meals, handle doctor’s appointments or supervise their religious instruction?
The family court’s primary goal is to ensure your kids are safe from abuse and neglect, of course, but barring that, continuity in the children’s lives is a key consideration. If you’ve been deeply involved with your kids every day before the divorce or breakup, you have a much better chance to be confirmed in that degree of participation afterward.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Father’s Rights In Divorce: Myths and Facts,” Natalie Gregg, March 22, 2013