Up until recently, it was common in a divorce for judges to grant custody of the children to the mother, with the father being granted only minimal visitation rights. Things are different today. Fathers are no longer satisfied with a role that is limited to their ability to provide the family with its income. Many fathers are insisting on their right to be equal parents to their children, sharing in all of the duties and responsibilities of parenthood, from changing diapers to shuttling children to ballet lessons and soccer matches. When divorces occur, fathers are no longer accepting a minimal parental role. Instead, they seek a settlement that provides for shared or joint custody, where the parents share equally in the important decisions of the children’s lives and where physical custody also is shared on a mutually-agreed upon schedule.
Unfortunately, in the State of New York no judge will grant shared or joint custody when parents are fighting over custody issues in court. The theory behind this is that couples who are unable to agree on the basic terms of custody also will not be able to agree on the necessary, day-to-day decisions that have to be made in order to provide proper care and supervision for the children. Because of this, if you take your custody battle into court, one parent will win custody and one parent will lose custody. While courts no longer automatically grant custody to the mother, custody decisions are based on a complex set of determining factors and neither parent can assume they will be granted custody in court, no matter what their family circumstances are.
The bottom line is, shared or joint custody must be agreed upon outside of the courtroom. If you believe you and your spouse have a mutually respectful relationship that will allow you to make decisions about your children’s health and welfare without conflict, then shared or joint custody may work for you.
The attorneys at the law firm of John N. Fath, P.C. have decades of experience negotiating custody matters for their clients. We are fathers too, and we understand your desire to play an active role in your children’s lives. We are especially skilled at convincing our clients to put their emotions aside and focus on what is most important – the best interests of the children. We will negotiate aggressively yet compassionately for your rights as a father. If negotiations break down and it becomes necessary to litigate the custody issue, we will put all our resources to work to ensure that you have the best chance possible of getting the custody or visitation rights that you are seeking, while being honest with you about what you can realistically expect from the Court.
Call or email the attorneys at the law offices of John N. Fath, P.C. today to discuss how we can help you protect your rights as a father.