A long-held myth about family law judges and their decision-making is that they tend to favor mothers when awarding custody instead of dads. While this may have been true decades ago, this isn’t the case nowadays.
Shifts in psychologists’ perspectives as to what type of custodial arrangement is best for helping a child thrive have changed over the years. These mental health professionals used to believe children benefited from spending most of their time with their moms, which resulted in countless judges awarding dads minimal custody on a few weekends per month.
Child psychologists now see it as beneficial for children to spend equal time with both parents whenever possible. Family law judges also employ the best interest standard when deciding on the ideal custodial arrangement.
So, if you’re wondering if the courts are biased towards moms when awarding custody, that’s no longer the case. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to come to court prepared to put up a strong case for why you deserve custody as a dad, though.
Establish your parental rights
If you’re unmarried and looking to secure custodial rights, you should first establish your paternity. You can do so by signing an affidavit of parentage or submitting to a paternity test.
You gain the same parental rights as your child’s mom once you establish your paternity (if you aren’t married). Moms are automatically assigned parental rights at the time of their child’s birth.
Put up a solid case for why you should retain custody
Many dads become disillusioned, thinking that the odds are stacked against them and favor moms when seeking custody. You have equal rights to be in your son or daughter’s life.
A family law judge is going to expect you to show evidence of your strong parental bond with your child if they’re going to conclude that awarding you custody is in their best interest. They’ll want to know that you’ve consistently exercised your visitation rights and taken an active role where you can, whether it’s attending parent-teacher meetings or coaching a sport they participate in.
No battle is ever won without a fight. Still, recent shifts in perspectives as to what custodial arrangements help kids continue on a positive path of development means your prospects for securing custody are greater than they ever have been.