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What can fathers do to help win custody?

You want joint custody of the kids; your spouse wants sole custody. You're worried that she is going to get it. As a father, what can you do to help put yourself in the best possible position to win custody rights?

Here are a few tips:

  1. If you've already been ordered to pay child support, do not neglect to do so. You may be frustrated that things aren't working out in your favor, but don't withhold any payments. It's illegal and certainly doesn't help your case.
  2. Show that your relationship with the children is meaningful. Be involved in their lives. Go to school functions, sports contests and everything else your children are involved in.
  3. Work on that relationship in every way you can. It's not just about showing up at events. You want to bond with your children. A Saturday evening spent doing nothing more than playing board games at the house may seem like a small thing, but a record of these events shows that it's in the children's best interests to spend time with you.
  4. Get ready to talk to the judge. Don't just come to court expecting to get what you want. The judge may ask you questions -- like what type of living space you have for the children or how you plan to provide financially -- and you need to be ready with prompt, accurate answers.

Overall, you just need to show that you are an important part of the children's lives. The court typically strives not to break up those relationships. Make sure you know all of the legal options you have to show why it's beneficial to the children that you get custody rights.

Source: The Spruce, "10 Child Custody Tips for Fathers," Debrina Washington, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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