When fathers are forced into child custody proceedings, they are commonly at a disadvantage. Mothers usually have favor in the courts when in comes to physical and legal custody of the children unless they are deemed an unfit parent. Only 17% of single parents who have physical and legal custody are men. Fathers are equally integral to their child’s wellbeing and having a strong father/ child bond is imperative to a happy and healthy life for both. A divorce may be the end of a marriage. It should not seek to disrupt the healthy relationships each parent has established over the course of the child’s life. Heated divorce proceedings sometimes lead to children being a pawn for parents to use against each other. Knowing your rights as a father can protect you and your child from heartbreak.
In New York, fathers should have equal rights to the physical and legal custody of their children. Often, the courts are gender biased and award the mother legal and physical custody of the children, unless circumstances deem her unfit. Physical custody refers to whom the child will live with on a full-time basis. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions relating to the child’s education, religion, medical care and extracurricular activities.
Even if the father loses physical custody, he should fight for joint legal custody of his children. Making legal decisions will help ensure an active role in the children’s lives. When a father loses physical and legal custody, their role is drastically diminished to the likes of an uncle. When appropriate, both parents should have frequent and regular access to their children. Fathers should be included in all aspects of their children’s lives. He should attend functions, see report cards, and make medical decisions. Most importantly, he should seamlessly continue being a positive male role model for his children.
If you are a father facing a contested child custody case, speak to an experienced family law attorney. to ensure that you are being equally represented in court and your rights are being protected. Although the court has historically favored mothers, we fight to change the perception that fathers are not as integral to the lives of their children as their counterparts. New York Courts should be “gender blind”, but this often not the case. We will fight this injustice, ease you through this emotional process, and work towards the best possible outcome for your family custody issue. Contact us today for a consultation.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.