What Are Your Child Custody Rights As A Father?
Child custody rights usually favor mothers simply because they are perceived as better caretakers of their children than fathers. However, this belief has been contested by many fathers who think they are equally capable of raising their children. In fact, the courts have gradually recognized that fathers, too, deserve custody rights over their children. According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of custody rights were awarded to fathers in 2004. Since then, the number of fathers gaining custody of their children has grown.
If you have recently divorced your wife, then you need to know and understand your custody rights as a father. Various states have different rules and guidelines involving custody rights for fathers. Some states require fathers to seek custody of their children while applying for divorce.
The courts decide custody rights according to the best interest of the child. The following factors are taken into consideration by the courts:
• The physical and mental ability of the parents to take care of the child
• The main caretaker of the child
• Who makes the decisions involving the child
• Who helps the child in his or her daily activities
• Who has better finances to provide for the child’s needs
As a father trying to get custody of your child, you must be aware of the two custody options available to you: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives you the right to be the main decision-maker for your child. In this type of custody, you have the final say about the health care, schooling, and other important aspects of raising your child. On the other hand, physical custody allows you to have your child live with you. You can get both legal and physical rights in either sole or joint custody. Sole custody gives both legal and physical rights to only one parent. In contrast, joint custody allows both parents to share decisions regarding their children’s upbringing.
If you failed to get sole custody and if, for some reasons, you missed paying child support, these are not enough reasons for you to be deprived of your custody rights over your child. Remember, you do not pay a fee for seeing your child. But, if you have caused harm to your child or to your ex-spouse, chances are you will lose your custody rights permanently. This may be reversed if the courts rule otherwise.
Concerned that the mother’s cigarette smoking might affect your child’s health? Thanks to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, fathers can now prove the bad effects of the mother’s unhealthy habit on your child. This law helps boost the chance of fathers to win the custody battle. However, it can be used the other way around if you are addicted to smoking.
Children of divorced parents have to live with the trauma caused by the separation of their parents. Thus, their best interest must be served, regardless of who gains the custody. You and your former wife should decide the type of child custody that will ensure a stable and secure life for your child.