FATHER’S RIGHTS: Father’s rights law firms and groups have become increasingly visible, vocal and vociferous in their quest to gain respect for dads who are enmeshed in a divorce battle with their ex wife for custody of the children.
More and more lawyers are identifying themselves a “father’s rights specialists” and they are helping dads stand up for their rights to have a say in the rearing and custody of their children. While this divorce blog‘s readership skews mostly female, we do have many male readers as well, and we have evolved over the past three years to realize we need to be more sensitive to men/dads in how we not only cover issues, but in terms of actually providing post-divorce resources for fathers as well. Because many dads are just wonderful and some would make better custodial parents than mom (sorry ladies) and so, while it does require increased sensitivity and awareness, we are proud to say that we are getting better at giving dads their due. Just to prove it, here is some advice specifically for dads who are trying to “win” custody of their kids after a divorce and gain residential custody and legal custody over their children.
So, here are five tips for you dad who want to win custody:
1. Use your superior earning power to your advantage – Money talks. The fact is that men as a group are more affluent, by far, than women. Men still rule. They still make more money. And it takes money to provide resources that children need for adequate child rearing and care. Make a point of showing the divorce judge/court that if you win custody, the children will be better taken care of because, frankly, you have the financial resources to provide a better life for them. Paying child support, especially if the money paid is not being used on the children in total, is not the same as having the children reside in a home where resources are readily available.
2. Get remarried and get a new mommy-figure for the kids – Obviously, you are not trying to replace the children’s mother. But it doesn’t hurt if there is a new balanced and peaceful family situation at your house as compared to mom’s that would be in the children’s best interest. A new wife provides a kind of stability and balance that would augment your argument that you have not only the financial resources, but the actual ability to care for the children and to be there for them and to provide balance for them. A wife, especially one who is stay at home and one who actually likes your kids is an asset in your custody fight.
3. Get your friends to say nice things about you in affidavits. In court, it’s always good to have affidavits from people who know you or have them actually come to court on your behalf to tell the court what a great guy you are. Pastors, Employer/employees, school personnel and members of volunteer organizations you belong to, and do great work for, are great bets.
4. Be a “helicopter” parent – Be there for the kids till its nauseating; pick them up at daycare or school, go to all the meetings, etc. Teachers should be able to testify that you are always there for your kids. You know the teacher’s names, they have your phone number and you are there for every recital, game and project. This will win you big points and it will show the court that you are a good caretaker for your child.
5. Demonstrate that mom is bad news. Does she drink, smoke or do drugs? Does she physically or verbally abuse the children? Is there a different man in the house every other night? Is she a workaholic who is never home? Can friends or family members be called upon to tell the court what a bad idea it is for mom to have custody? Then you may need to call on them for their support.
Now. Having said all that, I still don’t get why custody have to be a battle where just one parent wins. Why not do like the state of Florida and have a time sharing and co-parenting plan that eliminate all this nonsense about fighting over your children? They are both your children. It really shouldn’t be a fight and war. Just share the children. That is what I would prefer to see happen. But that is in my fantasy world, I know. So, in the meantime, these are some tips for dads who want to “win” custody of their children. (Sorry, moms if I have been offensive to you in this post.)