Over the years, the legal system has gone through several transformations when it comes to child custody rights for men. Once, fathers almost always retained custody of their children as mothers would have no source of income. But, once fathers began to work in cities and far away from home, mothers were viewed as the primary caregivers and should be given custody instead.
But, as gender roles slowly began to equalize and mothers were also viewed as members of the workforce, the legal system looked at a new standard known as the “Best Interests of the Child.” This standard will look at:
- The child’s unique circumstances, like:
- Health issues
- Child’s preference (if old enough)
- Each parent’s lifestyle, like if a parent work’s nights;
- Which parent lives closer to school; and
- Several other factors that vary, depending on the situation.
Now, the mother and father have equal chances to have physical custody. The legal system does not favor one over the other due to gender alone. Instead, they will focus on how the child feels about each parent, where the child would feel more comfortable, and other factors considered under the Child’s Best Interests standard.
Child custody arrangements can be very different in each case. The way custody is arranged depends mainly on the way that the child relates to each parent, as well as the parent’s capabilities. The court will also factor in various considerations related to the child’s needs and background.
A child’s relation to their father may be very different from the way that they relate to a mother, and vice-versa. Some specific child custody issues for men to consider may include: ;
- Child support, especially if the father is unmarried;
- Father’s visitation rights;
- Paternity tests;
- Non-biological father parental rights; and
- Name on a child’s birth certificate.
Of course, these issues might not be present in every child custody case. Also, they may have different effects based on the type of relationship that the spouses or partners have. For instance, a previous divorce may have major effects on the way that custody is divided between the parties.
There are also issues related to child support that father’s must keep in mind. Overwhelmingly, father’s pay the majority of child support in the United States. In many cases, failure to pay child support can result in serious punishments like wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and jail time.
However, this can also happen to fathers who are unable to pay child support and not just avoiding payment of child support. So these are fathers who lost their jobs, were injured at work, or got into a car accident. If they do not get permission to modify the child support order, then they run into the very real risk of facing serious punishments for not meeting their child support requirements.
So while child support obligations can be required of either the mother or father, in most cases it is the father who needs to pay child support. That means fathers are the ones who often are punished by the current inflexibility of the child support system.
There are many other child custody issues that may arise. Some other important child custody issues to consider include:
- Child neglect;
- Child abuse;
- Physical spousal abuse, especially if the child has witnessed any incidents;
- Emotional or verbal abuse; and
- Restraining orders.
These particular issues can often have negative effects on custody, and may prevent the father from coming into contact with the child. Keep in mind that there are just issues
While child custody arrangements must be approved by the court in order to be valid and enforceable, that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed in the future. If circumstances change for either parent to the point where the custody arrangement needs to be changed, they can always file a request with the court.
A modification of child custody may be requested for various reasons. These can include:
- A change in employment of either parent;
- Changes in residence;
- Major family changes, such as a parent getting remarried;
- Changes in the needs of the child; and/or
- Various other life events and changes.
For instance, if the child develops special needs, and one parent is deemed more equipped to handle the changes, then the court may grant a modification of the custody order. This will help to accommodate the needs of the child. All child custody determinations by the court are made with the child’s best interest in mind.
On the other hand, if a child custody change is needed, the parents do need to make sure this is approved by the court before they try to make any changes. In fact, changing the custody arrangement without first seeking court approval can lead to legal consequences, such as charges of contempt which can lead to jail time.
Child custody issues can involve some complex legal concepts and laws. Some custody issues may be more relevant for men in a custody dispute as compared with other issues. You may need to hire a child custody lawyer if you require help with any child custody matters.
Your attorney can help identify any issues that could affect your case. Also, if you need to attend family law court, your lawyer can provide you with legal representation during the court process.