The first thing a father must accept is that the legal system is biased in favor of women when it comes to child custody cases. In the family court setting, seven out of ten people who work within it are women. This includes court clerks, judges, hearing officers, and bailiffs. And while the previously mentioned demographic isn't true in all areas of the United States, it's true enough to be accepted as common knowledge by those who practice law in child custody cases.
Protect Your Rights as a Parent
In the most common divorce and custody scenario, after the split, the father leaves the home. However, doing this plays against you when it comes to arguing for your child's custody. The first hearing for custody rights may be several months to a year in the future. By the time that date comes, a firm pattern of fatherly absenteeism will have been established. The mother will get custody since the court will likely rule in favor of maintaining the status quo for the equilibrium of the children.
Instead of abruptly leaving, draft a document that details a timesharing agreement with the mother. Do not voluntarily leave the home unless both you and the mother of your children sign the document. This establishes your wishes to be a father to your children. The document also establishes that the mother accepts your rights to fatherhood.
Hire an Attorney
The sooner that you retain an attorney, the better off you will be. Child custody and divorce are subsets of a legal practice known as family law, which also includes spousal support, paternity testing, guardianship, adoption, and protection orders. If you even suspect that a divorce or potential custody battle is on the horizon, a qualified child custody lawyer will effectively help you avoid gender bias in your case.
The court may also appoint an attorney to represent your children. A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the judge who feels that the personal nature of the dispute between the parents may not be representing the best interests of the children. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed when the child is a teenager or minor adult and capable of making a decision about where they want to live.
More on Choosing the Right Attorney
The attorney you hire should have experience in child custody cases. Find one that is willing to work within your budget. It should be easy to get in contact with them. The right attorney will never attempt to force or sell you towards making a particular decision. The choice is always yours to make. Legal advice is simply that, advice.
Reach out to a child custody attorney like Kenneth J. Molnar for more information.