Every child deserves the love, affection and parenting time of BOTH parents. Every parent has the RIGHT to be actively involved in raising their children. Unfortunately, it is much harder for fathers to have the same rights that mothers have when it comes to custodial and parenting time. Since many families have parents that are both employed, the presumptions of the past that the stay at home mom should automatically receive residential custody are slowly eroding. Unless there are some very strong reasons why a parent should have limited time with their children, such as because of alcohol or drug abuse, neglect or abuse the parents ought to be treated blindly and equally by the divorce legal system. Unfortunately, all too often that is not the case and strong, dedicated and involved fathers are put through a rigorous obstacle course with no guaranty at the end that they will still obtain the fairness and neutrality that they are entitled to receive.
Effective legal strategy for a father that wants sole custody or joint custody with the father as the residential custodial parent or equal parenting time requires careful planning by the client and the divorce attorney immediately. Assuming that the mother will not agree to such a resolution, the father and his attorney must start to do the right things and make the right moves from the very beginning of the case.
At the first court conference or negotiation with the mother's attorney, make it clear that you are seeking residential custody or equal custody. Be on guard for the dirty tricks such as the allegation of a false domestic violence incident where the mother tries to obtain an order of protection keeping you out of your home and away from your children. Immediately contact your attorney and find out whether you should cross file for an order of protection to protect your rights.
If you have not been attending school conferences and school events start going to everything. Get in touch with the teachers, speak to the children's doctors, if there are any medical issues.
I cannot emphasize the importance of retaining an experienced divorce attorney who understands that you want to win, that has a plan of action for you, that has tried custody cases and that is well respected by the judges. I have dedicated the last 21 years of my 30 year career to representation of clients who are divorcing or separating. My years of experience will let me guide you through this process and protect your rights. Please call my office so I can help you.