Fathers are Very Important to Their Children and should be Actively Involved in the Parenting Process
We handle domestic litigation and help fathers through the divorce and child custody process as well as protecting hard earned assets. We believe in providing fathers a level playing field in the family court system and fully support a father’s right to be actively involved with his children.
Family law matters can be very difficult on all parties involved. We will work with you and provide a professional service to you and your family during this most difficult time.
We help put together appropriate parenting-time arrangements that can maximize children’s time with fathers. What was normal parenting time back in the early 1980s or 1990s may not be recognized as appropriate or in the child’s best interest in 2016.
Fathers are very important in the maturing and developing process of their children and are needed in the lives of their children. Fathers are far more than just a paycheck. Children need their fathers for emotional support and care. They are needed to provide guidance, help with schooling and physical care-taking. They are role models and sometimes fathers just need to be there and spend time with their children. When parents separate, unfortunately fathers frequently must fight to remain a part of their children’s lives.
James Munafo & Associates, P.C., understands that, for many fathers, having to fight for their children is one of the most difficult times in their lives. We can help fathers get through this difficult time and maintain meaningful relationships with their children.
Call us to schedule an appointment. Take the step to protect your children’s rights to have an active relationship with their father.
It is so important to obtain competent legal advice and involvement at an early stage. Please call us at either location to set up a consultation.
Father’s Rights…How to Equal Parenting Time or Custody as a Father? It’s all About the Best Interest of the Child
How to get custody as a father
There is no magical formula; the critical factor is you just need to be a loving and very involved father. As an attorney for father’s rights, I will lead you through a common sense approach to be involved in your child’s life. Children need both parents in their lives on a regular basis.
What I hope you learn is that a father, like a mother, will get joint or sole custody when he/she is able to demonstrate to the court that such a custody order is consistent with the child’s best interest. The focus of the court is on the child, not on you or the mother.
That is not to say fathers do not have certain issues that are sometimes, depending on the family structure, more unique to them. However, those issues must all be addressed within the context or lens of the child’s best interest, because that is what family law judges are trained to focus on.
Let’s look at what you must know about how to get custody as a father.
(1) Your work schedule is an important consideration in obtaining custody as a father
The traditional American marriage still has a husband and father who works full-time and a wife and mother who either works less hours, earns less pay and/or does not work at all. While this is less common today compared to decades ago, it still pervades the majority of divorce cases that we see.
For fathers that have full-time jobs and young children who are not yet in school, the practical problem and fear of not getting quality time with the children is an issue near and dear to the dad’s heart. Thus, it is important that fathers with full-time or heavy work schedules obtain a custody and visitation schedule that maximizes the quality time with their children.
Quality time includes days that the father does not work such as weekends as well as evenings during the week. Vacation and holiday time is a critical part of a working father’s schedule. Depending on the age of the children, frequent and regular contact (even in short bursts of time) may necessary to continue the bonding process and ensure the child does not become distant from the father.
In situations where both the father and mother work full-time and the children are equally bonded with both parents, no special preference should be given to the mother in the custody schedule. If two parents have very similar work schedules and it is otherwise in the children’s best interest to spend equal time with the parents, any day care or other childcare arrangements should be equally made between the parents so that both parents enjoy equal time with their children when they’re not working.
For fathers who travel extensively due to their work schedules, flexibility and make up time is an important part of any custody and visitation schedule. If a father is going to miss one or more weeks of time with their children, a custody and visitation order can outline how the time will be made up after the father returns from the business trip.
(2) Emotional bonding with your children is another important factor in how to get custody as a father
A custody order with frequent and regular contact does not just happen because you want it. If, during your marriage, you have not spent very much time with your children and are not bonded with them, you face an uphill climb if you intend or expect to suddenly, after separation, get 50/50 custody.
However, this does not mean you should give up on your children and take whatever custody and visitation schedule is offered to you.
For fathers in such a situation, you must ask yourself a question and make a choice. The question is: Are your children a priority in your life or not? If you answered yes or want to answer “yes” to this question, you must start to act consistent with your answer. Begin now to make choices that will allow physical contact and involvement with your children.
Start now by spending your actual visitation time with the children. That means you do not pawn off the children to your parents, daycare facilities or babysitters. If it’s your parenting time, then you should be taking it, not someone else. This means that you keep the children’s routines or add to them so that the children not only feel comfortable at your home but also look forward to coming there.
In addition, so long as you intend to follow through, you must ask the children’s mother for additional time through a cooperative and reasonable approach. This may sound too simple but it’s often overlooked… The better you treat the mother of your children and attempt to get along with her, the easier it will be to reach agreements on shared parenting time. If the children’s mother refuses to agree to additional time, one of the worst things you can do is to do nothing. In such a situation, once you are able to establish that you spend time with your children and can handle the additional time, hiring an experienced family law attorney is critical. Don’t try to do this alone. A good divorce or custody lawyer can bring to the courts attention all of these facts as well as the mother’s refusal to co-parent and act in the children’s best interest.
Remember that the courts and legislature have a policy that it is in the best interest of children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship. In fact it’s very important to understand that both parents have the responsibility to encourage the love and bond between the child and the other parent.
(3) The alienating or uncooperative mother/parent
This is the most difficult thing a parent can go through; to see the other parent selfishly act in ways to undermine their relationship with their children. Unfortunately, although it is not necessarily gender specific, some parents refuse to reasonably communicate, co-parent and even go as far as to alienate the children from the other parent.
In such situations, your strategy may have to change if you intend to act with your children’s best interests in mind and it’s important that you know about a non-custodial parent’s rights in such circumstances.
Any parent, including a mother, who refuses to co-parent and alienates the children, is actually harming not only the relationship between the child and other parent, but also harming the child; such actions are not in the child’s best interest.
It is important for you to know, as a father, that if you do nothing, the chances of you being able to ever get joint or primary custody of your children may reduce significantly. That is because children who are consistently alienated from one parent overtime may, as they get older, not want to spend time with that parent, once the child reaches a certain age. As children get older their opinions have more weight in deciding custody situations, but this is not the determinative factor of consideration.
(4) How to get custody as a father? The answer may be self-serving, but it’s true; you will need the help of a good attorney
It is in your best interest and that of your children to contact a family lawyer to get your child custody case on the right track from the beginning. Even if your case has already started and you believe is not going well, we can sit down with you, evaluate where you have been and help get your case in the right direction.
Call our law firm today, James Munafo & Associates, P.C., for an affordable, initial strategy session. Call us at our Parker Colorado location: (303) 805-7430; or at our Colorado Springs location: (719)635-9994; to set an in-person meeting to discuss and find viable approaches to your situation.