Not that long ago, child custody was almost automatic. Moms got full physical custody, dads got the right to take the kids to dinner once a week and spend two weekends a month with them.
The times have changed.
According to a 2013 statistic from Fatherhood.gov – the most recent year for which statistics were available – the United States has 2 million single fathers. Among them, 17 percent of them have custody of their kids.
Whether you are a father seeking full custody or joint custody, the following tips can help your case.
- Make child support payments on time. If you are able financially able to make payments as you and your children's mother have agreed, do it. Keep records to show you have paid as well. If you are having trouble making payments, request a modification. It won't make a positive impression if you stop paying while your custody case is pending.
- Work on your relationship with your kids. On the days your child isn't with you, check in with the child's mother. If they are old enough to talk, ask to speak with them on the phone. If your kids have phones of their own, drop an "I love you and have a good day text" regularly.
- Know your child's routine and attend special events. Know who your kids doctors and teachers are. Attend your child's events, such as school concerts or open houses, church programs, youth sports games and doctor appointments.
- Keep accurate records about when you spend time with your child. A judge will want to see you have kept up with your end of the parenting plan – and even gone the extra mile.
- Designate a special space in your home for your child. While having their own bedroom is always a plus, at the least make sure that your son or daughter has a place for their stuff where they feel comfortable.
- Have a plan in place for when the kids move in with you. Who will watch the kids after school? Are you financially prepared?
Our kids are the most important thing to us, and they deserve time with both parents. Judges are very agreeable today to 50/50 child custody, and fathers are able to receive full custody, too. A Georgia attorney experienced in family law can work with you to build your custody case.