How can fathers get custody of children in a divorce? Do the courts still favor mothers? What can a father do to increase his chances of getting custody?
The courts do indeed still favor mothers, but many more fathers are getting custody these days than in times past. If both you and your wife work full time, your chances of getting custody are much higher than if you work full time and she does not work or she works part time. There are several ways to increase your chances of getting custody:
Hire a Good Lawyer
Find a lawyer who has won cases for fathers before. Look for an attorney who is experienced and reputable. Do not go with the cheapest lawyer, but rather search out a lawyer who is familiar with the custody aspects of divorce law and has proven his or her worth in the courtroom.
Increase Your Involvement With the Kids
Push for at least joint custody, if not more time with the kids for the temporary separation schedule. This is the time to take time off of work, spend vacation days with the kids and volunteer at the kids' school. If you can, see if you can start working from home on days the kids have off school or in the afternoons so you can be the one who gets the kids off the bus. Insist on attending parent-teacher conferences, doctors' appointments and extra curricular activities, even if this means attending with your spouse. You want to show you are the primary caretaker, and that requires spending equal or more time with your kids than your spouse.
Document Your Involvement With the Kids
Make sure you keep a log of times spent with the kids so you can prove your devotion to the court.
Provide a Good Environment for the Kids
Hopefully you didn't move out of the house, but if you did, you need to create a secondary home suitable for raising the kids to show you can provide as good a living environment as Mom can. If you haven't moved out yet, insist she move out, not you. This way the stable home environment is already established with you at the helm. Can't decide who should move out and don't have enough money for a suitable second home for the kids until after you sell the marriage home? Try alternating-according to the separation custodial schedule-who stays at home with the kids and who lives at a friend's or relative's house or in a one bedroom apartment. This limits the disruption to the kids' schedules and shows you are willing to sacrifice to make sure the kids' needs are met above all.
Make sure you shine as the parent who is willing to pay for expenses during the divorce proceedings. The judge will see your generosity as willingness to provide monetarily for the kids. Keep receipts from all expenses, especially big bills like orthodontist bills.
Document Any Abuses
If your wife really is abusive, addicted to a substance or otherwise unfit, make sure you document evidence proving these things. You may want to hire a private detective or ask neighbors if they have witnessed anything incriminating. If the court assigns a guardian ad litem to the case, ask if you can submit this evidence to the guardian.
Finding out how to get a restraining order is not as daunting a task as it may seem. A restraining order is a court order that protects you by ordering a person to stay away from you and thus protect you from pain or injury. It can order a person to move out of the house, stay away from you or to not enter your house. Filing a restraining order may also be important in child custody matters in that it may temporarily alter the custody arrangement.
To put an end to a marriage officially, you have two options: annulment or divorce. Annulment law basically states that you can, under certain conditions, cancel a marriage. Legally, the marriage is said to have never have existed and was never valid. A divorce is the legal end of a marriage.