Decades ago, the mother stayed home and raised the children while her husband went out and earned a living. A lot has changed since then, and now many fathers defy those traditions in order to stay home and raise the children while their wives focus on their careers. In other cases, both parents share the child-rearing responsibilities as equally as they can.
Each of you may have equal rights within your home, but courts here in Pennsylvania and across the country may still struggle to keep up with the times. The good news is that more courts consider shared custody as serving the best interests of the children, but some bias toward mothers may remain.
What types of biases remain against fathers?
Judges across the country cite the following reasons for preferring to award full custody to mothers instead of fathers:
- Fathers lack time to care for children
- Fathers don't love and nurture enough
- Fathers lack knowledge of child-rearing
This may be true for a particular father, but these reasons could also apply to a mother.
What should a court look for when determining custody?
Instead of allowing preconceived notions to drive a decision, the courts should consider the following when determining what would be in the best interests of the children:
- The child's needs
- The relationship of each parent to the child
- The ability of the parents to communicate
- The ability of each parent to financially provide for the children
The court will also consider any other factors relevant to your particular situation.
What can a father do to overcome bias?
If you are a father and want to increase your chances of overcoming any potential bias, it may help to take the following steps:
- Create a viable parenting plan
- Ensure communication with the other parent
- Provide proof to the court of your parental relationship
It may also help to seek out the advice and assistance of an attorney. As a father, you have just as much right as the mother does to seek full custody of your child or children. If you believe that you would make the better primary custodial parent, then you need to begin by gathering evidence supporting your position. You will also need to know how to best represent yourself in court in order to achieve your goal. Doing so could be easier and less stressful with the right help.