What a Father Should Know About Seeking Full Custody
Most fathers do not envision needing to fight to prove they can provide the best home for their child. Yet, every day fathers across the country must go to court to seek full custody. Preparation, follow-through and consistency are keys to success.
Family courts prioritize the best interests of the child, not the wishes of parents. Fathers who want to fight for sole custody have the same rights as mothers. A father seeking full custody should heed these guide posts:
- Know what you’re getting into — It is crucial that you assess your current lifestyle, finances, work schedule and support system. Realistically consider the challenges that come with being a full-time parent. Be clear on how you will provide for your child, where they will live and how you will get them to school, playdates, doctors’ appointments and other commitments. Think about your child’s long-term interests and immediate needs, as well as what these will require of you. You may want to talk to other single fathers to get a better understanding of the day-by-day realities of sole custody. Showing a family court that you made an informed decision to request full custody can only strengthen your case.
- Know your kid and their lifestyle — You will be deemed more fit as a parent when you can demonstrate that you know what your child cares about, what activities and relationships bring a sense of stability in their life and what special considerations are relevant to their healthcare, education and social life. However, it is not enough simply to know this information. The court will also want to see your commitment to playing an active role in your child’s life, from attending parent-teacher conferences to spending regular quality time with your child.
- Follow court orders — It can be frustrating to follow a court order that you believe does not serve your child’s best interests or that you feel prevents you from maintaining a relationship with your child. But breaking an order can be more harmful to your case. Even if you are currently unable to spend substantial time with your child, you can show your commitment to parenting by paying child support on time, creating a comfortable space for your child in your home and doing what you can to be involved in your child’s life.
- Be a model of cooperation — Being respectful and communicative toward your ex can go a long way in the eyes of a court considering an initial or modified custody order. If your child’s other parent refuses to follow the joint custody schedule or prevents visitation, consult your attorney to determine a course of action. Do not lose your temper or composure under any circumstances.
The experienced lawyers at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. in Melville, New York help fathers pursue full custody in Long Island family courts. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.