Fathers of past generations used to be at a disadvantage when pursuing child custody cases against the mothers of their children. While the pendulum has begun to swing in the other direction, giving fathers a better chance at justice in Maricopa County family law courts, dads still sometimes wind up shortchanged of time with their children.
If you're an Arizona father seeking custody of your kids, the below tips may be helpful.
Pay your child support
Responsible dads support their children whether they live with them or not. Any dad seeking custody should be prepared to explain to the court why he is not current on his child support obligations.
Sometimes fathers may have informal agreements where they pay certain bills for their children or the kids' mothers. They may routinely give their children's mother cash to meet expenses. There is nothing inherently wrong with this practice, but each cent of support should be documented by receipts from the other parent or whichever company got paid.
Keep good records
Document your interactions with your child when he or she is in your custody so you have proof of a strong, ongoing relationship. Snapping some smiling selfies and jotting notes on a calendar can indicate proof of your involvement.
Give kids their space
Even when living space is limited, dads need to ensure that their children have at least a small corner in a one-bedroom apartment to keep their possessions and have privacy. A judge can ask that you share your housing plans with the court.
Go to their events
Work commitments can sometimes prevent parents from attending every practice, game and parent-teacher conference. But dads seeking custody should still make every attempt to attend the important events in their children's lives.
As you prepare to go into court, arm yourself with all of the legal knowledge and resources you need to win your custody case.
Source: The Spruce, "10 Child Custody Tips for Fathers," Debrina Washington, accessed Feb. 08, 2018