How the Best Interests of the Child and Fathers Who Want Custody Intersect

20 October 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Fathers should be just as likely to get physical custody of a child as the mother. However, this is not always the case. If you are certain that your child is better off with you instead of their mother, then you may need to take extra steps to obtain custody.

Judges and others in the court system tend to act on what they perceive as being the best interest of the child—and not necessarily what is best for the parents. Unfortunately, those standards tend to favor the mother of the child over the father. Take a look at what is meant by the term "best interest of the child."

1. Primary Caregiver—This means who has been taking care of the child on a day-to-day basis. It can also mean the parent who is best able to do that job or who has been doing the job. Caregiving usually means feeding, bathing, attending to medical needs, making sure homework is done, dealing with educational matters, and more. If you are not currently taking on that role, you need to do that as soon as possible. Aim for doing at least 50% of those tasks if possible.

2. Parental Relationships—In most cases, the court aims to make things easier on the children of divorcing parents by encouraging plenty of parental involvement during and after the divorce. That means the parents should balance two principles: don't use the kids as a weapon and do foster a good relationship with your ex. For example, don't trade visitation time for property. This also means the mother of the child should not threaten to ask for full custody if you don't comply with property or debt provisions. If this occurs, be sure to document the conversations and report them to your lawyer at once.

Judges also tend to favor the parent that understands and encourages the child to spend a lot of time with the other parent no matter what the custody or visitation arrangements might be. Unless you have reason to believe that the mother is abusing the child, using illegal substances, or is an alcoholic, or other bad parenting practices, be generous with custody and visitation arrangements.

3. Bonding—Finally, the courts take a close look at the previous relationship of the child and parent to identify if they are bonded. Often, the mother has a closer bond due to feeding when the child is young but fathers may also be bonded with their child by spending time with them and attending to their needs on a continuous basis.

If you are a father seeking custody, speak to local divorce attorney services.