Many fathers fear losing their kids during separation with their spouse. Courts can have a tendency to be biased against fathers. Due to these social biases many men will give up their parental rights during separation and divorce without knowing the facts. It is important for fathers to understand that they have equal rights under the law.
Many men assume that the mother has a legal upper hand and will reluctantly leave their kids with her during separation. If you have not set foot in court yet then know that fathers and mothers have equal custody rights at this time. You have the right to:
- Seek live-in custody
- Regular visitation if you do not get custody, including overnight
- Make important decisions about your child
These rights can be ensured in court with a legal separation. Whether choosing a legal separation or a divorce it is important to know your rights before moving forward.
Be prepared before stepping in court
Studies show that many custody battles are settled outside of the courtroom. This could in part be that men avoid court in fear of losing their children all together. Although it might feel like gender bias is against you, it is worth pursuing a relationship with your children.
In Georgia there is both legal and physical custody. Many times both types of custody are shared between parents. This means that you both can share in your child’s major life decisions including school, extracurricular activities, healthcare, and living situation.
Most of the time one parent will be designated with primary physical custody, also called the custodial parent. This means that you will both share in decisions about your child, but one is designated a primary decision-maker while the other is away. All of these choices will be determined by a judge in consideration of your child’s best interest. So how can you ensure that you will get adequate time with your kids? The best way is to show your participation in their lives right now.
Better your chances at custody by spending time with your kids
A judge will typically choose the primary care giver as the custodial parent. The primary caregiver is clearly involved in a child’s life, helping out in many areas such as:
- Helping with homework
- Making their meals
- Taking them to school
- Taking them to extracurricular activities
If you can show that you spent a lot of time and energy with your children then you will already have a good chance in court. If you are considering separation or divorce with your spouse then it is best to contact an attorney. An experienced attorney will help you get the best outcome from the separation.