Every part fathers must find out about custody

Having custody of your child means you can make legal decisions about where they live, go to school, or even pray. It also enables you (in fact, it requires you) to house your child, care for them, and attend to any needs, both physical and psychological.

Custody agreements usually come after a child is adopted, or when the parents divorce or separate (when one parent dies, this also triggers negotiations.) The courts are the institutions that decide who receives custody.

If you’re in custody proceedings, you may already have questions about what your rights are, what types of custody you have, how often fathers win, and what you can do to make sure you keep your rights. We reached out to family law attorney George Gilmer for answers to common questions related to father custody.

Meet the expert

George Gilmer is a Brooklyn attorney specializing in family law.

What custody rights do fathers have?

There is good news for fathers, said Gilmer: “Fathers have the same rights as mothers.” When making decisions regarding custody courts, use what is known as the best child standard interest. That is, if the father is the parent who is best placed to make decisions about and care for the child, he will have full custody.

Old-fashioned notions that the best place for a child is with the mother have disappeared, Gilmer said. “Even if custody is not granted, the father can count on adequate parental leave for his child,” he said. “The court believes it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents.”

At least fathers have equal access to the child’s medical and school records. Fathers also have the right to make big life decisions for the child (for example, where to live and go to school) even if they do not have custody.

What are the different types of child custody?

There are four types of child custody: sole custody, joint custody, sole custody, and joint custody. Let’s take one at a time.

Custody is the right to make big life decisions for a child. This can include anything from medical calls (does this child need surgery?) To education (should we send our child to a public or private school?). This type of custody also includes religious decisions (should we raise our child religiously or allow them to choose as an adult?)

Someone with sole legal custody means that he or she has the right to make all important decisions in these areas. “Joint custody means that one parent cannot make important medical, educational, or religious decisions about the child unless the other parent agrees,” Gilmer said.

Custody covers where the child will live. Which parent will house and care for the child? Who will be there before school for breakfast and in the evening for dinner? “Sole custody means that the child should primarily live with one parent, which means far more time than the other parent,” said Gilmer. “Joint custody means that the parents have the same parental leave as the child.”

In order for joint custody to work, Gilmer points out the obvious: “The parents have to get along.”

How often do fathers win custody?

“There are many factors and the court is using the best child standard interest to determine who wins,” Gilmer said.

The court can examine the child’s current living conditions. If a child has lived with a parent, the court may oppose the child’s move and risk disrupting their life. If one parent was the primary caregiver prior to the divorce, the person who met most of the child’s daily needs, the court may decide that the parent should keep the role.

The court also checks whether both parents are working and who has better childcare. Mental and physical health also play a role. Which parent is mentally and physically better equipped to care for the child on a daily basis? Does one parent have a drug problem? Who has their finances in order? What is the home environment like?

The court is also examining how parents treat each other. “If one parent intentionally interferes with the other parent’s visiting rights, they will not be taken into custody,” Gilmer said. “The court will watch the parents and decide which parent is best placed to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.”

The list goes on and on, but the point is that fathers have no advantage or disadvantage over mothers when it comes to custody. The parent who is best able to make decisions for and care for the child wins.

Custody Tips for Fathers

“My biggest tip for fathers is that they have the same rights as mothers,” said Gilmer. “One mistake is that fathers sometimes allow mothers to have complete control over the upbringing of a child because they think they have fewer rights than the mother.” Do not forget that you are just as important as the mother.

He also encourages clients not to try to represent themselves in a custody battle. “Attempting custody proceedings is very complex and certain rules must be followed in order to obtain evidence,” he said. “There are rules to be followed as to what is appropriate to testify and what is not appropriate to testify and what is not appropriate to testify. When a person goes per se, which means when they represent themselves they are subjected to the standards of a lawyer in trying. ” incidence.”

Another piece of advice: try to keep things civilized. “The best way to make a situation amicable is to communicate respectfully,” he said. “It takes two people.”

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