Across the United States, fathers average just 35% of child custody time.
In Texas, that average is more like 33%. Unfortunately, many fathers still face some stigma in attempting to get custody of their children. Some lawyers and judges assume that the children should be with their mother, even if the father is capable and willing to take on a joint custody role—and sometimes even where the mother is not capable of effectively caring for her children.
As a father, you love your children and want to be there for them. However, you may face an uphill battle to get joint custody with their mother for several reasons. Nonetheless, you can take action to increase the likelihood that you will get joint custody.
Getting Past the Stigma in Your Own Mind
Part of the problem, according to some experts, is that fathers just assume that the mother will get the children. When they make that assumption, they do not try as hard to get joint custody even when it would be appropriate.
Do not make this mistake! As a father, you are just as capable as a mother to care for your children. You may even be better situated to take on this role in many circumstances. Do not let your assumptions get in the way of fighting for custody of your children. You need to take the first step and ask for custody.
Create a Plan that Can Work for Everyone
Part of the reason that some parents are so against joint custody is that they think that it will be “too hard” to coordinate schedules and plans with their child’s other parent. While you do not have to roll over to your child’s mother’s every whim, you can take steps to make the whole process easier.
Creating a plan that will work well for everyone can be a huge benefit. Think about things like moving closer to your child or ensuring that you are at least in the same school district. Take the time to think about how your child will get to soccer games or ballet practice.
Talk to the other parent about how you can make this work for everyone with a little bit of coordination and effective planning. Bringing your attorney or a mediator into this conversation can be a huge help as well.
Remember Your Vital Role As a Dad in Your Child’s Life
Keep in mind that your children need you in their life. Even if their mother is trying to push you away or lying to your children, you still need to fight back. Children thrive when they have a good father figure in their life.
Studies indicate that those who have active fathers are more likely to:
- Have better self-esteem
- Be successful in their educational careers
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Be honest and truthful
- Avoid disruptive behavior at home and school
Show their mother that you are a good influence and that you take your responsibilities seriously. Simply being a good Dad can go a long way with both your child’s other parent and the court (and your kids!).
Do Both Parties Need a Lawyer in a Divorce?
Fathers in Texas have the right to be a part of their children’s lives and have the same rights to child custody and visitation that mothers do. At the Law Office of Lauren Cain, we provide comprehensive legal services and strategic solutions that are tailored to each client’s individual situation.