For fathers considering a divorce, myths about fathers’ rights can make a divorce seem like a daunting prospect. Luckily, we’re living in a time where divorce court proceedings are more fairly weighted between fathers and mothers.
Let’s look at the top five myths about fathers and child custody:
Mothers always get custody–While it’s true that in the past, courts did seem to favor mothers in a custody hearing, this is increasingly not the case. The court will evaluate many factors that go into deciding who gets custody of a child, such as household stability, the child’s relationship with the parents, and the parents’ income.
Mediation isn’t required by the court–Except in cases of child abuse, the court is authorized to order mediation. However, the terms the mediator determines for the couple aren’t legally binding. If you and your ex-partner don’t agree with the terms of the mediation, you will go before a judge to move the proceedings forward.
You can’t create your own custody agreement–If you and your spouse are able to have a friendly conversation about custody, you are allowed to draft your own agreement. The court will review what you put together and if it’s determined that both parties can meet their stated obligations, and the judge signs your agreement, it becomes legally enforceable.
Visitation can be denied by the custodial parent–Your spouse may have their reasons for denying you visitation, but this against the law. Both parents are required to follow the terms of the custody agreement and cannot refuse visitation to the other party. If the non-custodial parent isn’t meeting their obligations, such as paying child support, the custodial parent still cannot refuse visits.
Fathers are on the hook for the total amount of child support–Divorce courts have a method of calculating how much a parent should contribute to child support, which can include factors outside of how much a father earns. Until the child reaches legal adult age, both parents will pay into child support as dictated by the divorce settlement.
Many factors go into ensuring that both parents are treated fairly and that their children receive the care and support they deserve. For more information about your rights as a father, speak with a local family law attorney who can help dispel the myths around child custody and ensure that you and your children are treated fairly.