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Sole custody for fathers

It is essential for a father to examine why he wants sole custody. In an ideal situation, children spend time with both parents. Usually, parents decide together on a fair visitation schedule and agree on who acts as the primary caretaker. A typical plan is for the mother to keep the kids during the school year while the father takes them on the weekends. During the summer, parents reverse caretaking roles. Whatever custody arrangement works best for parents and children is generally agreeable to the court, as long as the parents are both reasonably involved in their children's lives.

What are some reasons for fathers to seek sole custody?

The court is unlikely to grant sole custody if it appears the contesting parent is only interested in using custody to punish the other parent. The court understands that each parent may have a compelling reason to seek sole custody. However, the judge is primarily interested in what is best for the children involved.

A judge would probably be willing to grant sole custody to the father if he could prove his ex-spouse was not able to adequately take care of the children. For example, the mother may be a substance abuser, or perhaps she is currently incarcerated for a crime. If a mother has a record of domestic abuse, the judge will consider the matter carefully before allowing the mother to be alone with the children.

Best practices for a father seeking sole custody

The court will look at how much time the father spends with each of his children and his involvement with their extracurricular school activities or enrichment programs. If the father has a record of violence or has ranted about his spouse on social media, these behaviors will not predispose the court to judge in his favor. If the father has a criminal or substance abuse record, he will need to prove his rehabilitation is of suitable duration and stability.

Remember, no matter which parent prevails in a custody hearing, neither parent will impress the judge if he or she is rude, dismissive, belligerent or even quietly angry. If the decision goes against the father, he should yield gracefully and try to work out an equitable visitation schedule to maintain contact with his children. 

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Lazenby Law Firm

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