Posts Tagged ‘paternity’


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.


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.


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.


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.



In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Strategy Issues on September 8, 2008 at 8:40 pm

My mother used to say that “rich people have property, poor people have children.” Many a pundit on the right will speak of the “richness of love” that children bring, particularly in the heat of an argument about the abortion rights. This line of argument tends to bring more heat than light, and serves merely to ramp the rancor to such a degree that both sides end up heavily fortified in their respective positions completely disclaiming anything that the other side has to offer of value.

No matter where you stand on the abortion rights spectrum, and it is certainly a spectrum, not matter how much both sides try to portray it as a simple, either or proposition, the issues that are being dealt with, are life changing for all involved. Which is why I am so disappointed at the intellectual dishonesty that occurs on both sides of the debate.

On the Pro-Choice side, I believe it is intellectually dishonest to say that the only life that is effected by an abortion is that of the mother. Patently that is false. It takes at least two to make a baby, and certainly the father has some rights in this debate, since he clearly will have responsibilities should the pregnancy go full term. Since we will require of him 18 years worth of child support, it seems to me, that he has an interest in this pregnancy.

On the Pro-Life side, it is equally as dishonest to say that every life counts, but we shouldn’t be teaching how that life comes to be, or providing the means to prevent it from accidentally occurring. If one truly believes that every life should be saved, then we should be making sure that every life is a wanted life, coming into this world with a set of parents that are at least desirous of the child, if not prepared.

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