DAVID PISARRA

CHILD CUSTODY RULES FOR FATHERS

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues on April 8, 2009 at 6:50 am

In August of last year I wrote about my belief that parents should be forced to take an equal division of time in their children’s care. I don’t think it’s fair or equitable that the lion’s share of child rearing falls to the mother. Fathers should be required by law to take their children 50% of the time.

Those Republican poster-children, Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston had a child out of wedlock, and are now going through the negotiation process of how much access Levi is to be allowed to his son. He says that Bristol, she of the “Family Values” family, wont let him take his son. We see this type of controlling behavior is all too often in our practice, and it is a detriment to the father/child bonding.

I understand that the Johnston child is only a few months old, but that is no excuse in this day and age for a father to be denied solo parenting time. Frequently the mom claims that the father is not a good parent, or too immature, or too uneducated on how to provide for a newborn. I think those are weak arguments at best and disingenuous at worst. If a man is old enough to father a child, to be required to pay child support, then he should be old enough to take up the mantel of parenting.

Today, as it stands, fathers who want to obtain, or increase, their visitation and custody orders need to keep in mind the following: Proximity, Paperwork and Persistence. They can make or break your chances of getting the orders issued by the judge. Most fathers start out a custody case at a disadvantage. When dad moves out, the children are left with mom, and that becomes the way the court is inclined to keep the situation. The moment that dad moves out of the family home, is the moment that mom gains an advantage in child custody hearings.

Here’s why, the courts don’t want to upset the children’s living environment. They focus on keeping the child stable, and that means in their historical home.

So how then does a man recover from the mistake of moving out of the house? He must show to the court that he can effectively parent the child, with as little disruption to the child’s routine as possible.

PROXIMITY

This means how far or close dad lives to the child’s home and school. This is a major factor in increasing, or acquiring, custody and visitation. The closer dad is to the home and school, the more easily he can be present for the child, and the courts give this great weight. If the choice is for a child to be in a car for five minutes getting from mom’s home to school or a 25 minute drive from dad’s home, the court is going to prefer mom’s home. It is also more likely that the child’s friends and social network are close to the school they attend, which is a factor for the court.

PAPERWORK

Cases are won or lost on documentation. Dads should keep a Calendar or a diary of all the time that they are with their child. In any contested case, mom has something that she will use to show the court how little time dad spends with the kids.

A simple calendar which shows the days that dad took his child, and what they did on those days can make all the difference for a change in custody. If dad keeps the receipts for what he did with his child, it will allow his lawyer to prove that he took the child to see the movie Cars on a day when mom says he didn’t visit. This is a crucial credibility issue, and one that with a little bit of work by dad, can yield big gains. The court will see that dad is truthful, and he’s come a long way towards winning the credibility wars, and that can lead to more time with his child.

PERSISTENCE

The biggest factor that effects whether or not a dad will win more visitation or even equal custody, is his ability to come back, time and time again. The successful dad in family court, is the dad who never gave up, and was willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how difficult it was, or how long it took, to prove to the court that he wants and is capable of being a loving, attentive and present father.

The successful dad who wants to increase his custody and visitation, will live close to his child, keep good records, and never give up when dealt a bad hand.

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  1. David – Right on
    I never gave up pursuing **Equal Parenting** in the FAMILY Court – Son was born in 1995 – Had near **Equal Parenting** by late 1997.

    However my health suffered disaster and when the pain got to much they discovered Heart and Reflux troubles.

    The New Zealand medical fraternity has done much to make me more comfortable but I am left with reduced Heart function and serious reflux troubles.

    The NZ Social Welfare allowed me a Single Persons Invalids Benefit after a long fight by the end of 2000 with NO provision for **Equal Parenting**.

    9 long years later I am still fighting for WINZ our Social Welfare to recognise those **Equal Parenting** Orders by grating me, DAD half of all Govt funds given toward Parenting my Son.

    Mother has lived on the DPB – Domestic Purposes Benefit now some 13 years and been paid ALL the Child allowance yet only done half the job while I plough on attempting to FATHER my Son with NO Govt resources.

    I don’t think it’s fair or equitable for any Child that ALL Social Welfare Benefits of child rearing are GIVEN to the mother when she only does HALF the job and thus the CHILD receives unbalance Parenting.

    Onward – Jim
    Up on;
    Equal Parenting @ Ration Shed
    GO – http://rationshed.wordpress.com

  2. “I don’t think it’s fair or equitable that the lion’s share of child rearing falls to the mother. Fathers should be required by law to take their children 50% of the time.”

    Do you really think that a law is going to make the father’s more responsible for their share of the child rearing? In most intact two-parent homes, mothers are already doing the lion’s share of child rearing, and if dad was interested in the first place, he would’ve done his share when he WAS WITH THE MOTHER. The law isn’t going to change that just because the parents split up. Most dads like the idea of 50/50 custody ON PAPER because they don’t have to pay child support, but they usually have some excuse about why they can’t take the kids when it’s their turn, or when they do, they dump said kids on some girlfriend, stepmother, or paternal grandma. A guy who didn’t bother to help with childcare while he was with the kid’s mom shouldn’t suddenly get 50/50 custody. Kid’s need consistency, and they need to be with the parent who was the one WHO CONSISTENTLY PROVIDED THEIR CARE FROM DAY ONE AND IN MOST CASES, THIS IS THE MOTHER. Being with mom half the time to being with stepmom, or grandma the other half is not in the child’s best interest.

  3. i live in florida imoved here from england 6 years ago imarried a american 4 years ago we have a 2 and a half year old baby girl it seems every time we are in court i provide all the paperwork not hear say to stress my wife is keeping our child from me to no avail my onlt assumption is im a none us citizen im amale and my ex wife to be is in the military

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