This is a growing trend in domestic law in Alabama. State Courts, traditionally, have felt the mother was best suited to care for small children – a belief that has led to a stigma that mothers always win in divorce court. And for a lot of years that was fairly accurate. But the times are finally changing. With more and more women in the workplace rather than working as stay-at-home moms, and vice versa with fathers, the domestic law field is finally seeing that fathers are adequately prepared to raise small children. The Courts are taking notice of this workforce trend, and the decisions are finally catching up in favor of the times.
So how can a father win in a custody case? Here are just a few examples:
- Be Flexible at Work: Even though finding a good job in this economy is hard, it’s not worth having if you never get to see your children. If your job will only allow you to work nights, then raising children without some outside help is going to be difficult. If you can’t find some flexibility with your schedule then maybe it’s time to find another job. Don’t be afraid to take a slight pay cut if it means you’re able to be there for your kids when they need you. As long as you can prove that you’re around for your children, and can feed, shelter, and clothe them – a good lawyer can persuade the Court that you’re prepared.
- Choose Your Playmates Wisely: If your estranged spouse didn’t like your buddies prior to the divorce, rest assured she will bring it up in court. The same goes for female companions. Just because you’re now divorced doesn’t mean that you can date anyone you want, or as many as you want. Your dating record will definitely come up in Court, and if you made poor sleepover decisions while your kids were around I can guarantee that it will hurt you in a custody hearing.
- Find a Pattern: Divorce Court judges love to see stability – in any form. Be as detailed as you can be about your routine with your lawyer. With enough facts he/she can paint a portrait of you for the Court that will demonstrate that if given the chance, your kids will know what’s going to happen each day. If you don’t have a routine you’d better find one. Kids crave structure and stability, and so does the judge!
- Just Say No!: This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many custody pleas fall flat in court when one party or the other fails a drug test. Don’t go out with your drinking buddies. Don’t have drinking buddies! You’re a father now. Don’t waste the Court’s time with a cry for custody if you can’t pass a drug test. If you need help with substance abuse, talk to your lawyer. We can point you to avenues that can clean you up, and with hard work, earn the Court’s trust that you’re on top of your addiction.
- Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!: If you’re serious about your children and their lives with you, then their well-being should be your only focus. Every decision you make has to factor in the effect it will have on the children. Is this dating relationship going to benefit my kids? Is driving home buzzed going to help me in my custody case? Will taking that job working weeks out of the month out of town be good for the kids? Every aspect of your life will be called into question before a Judge. You no longer have privacy before the Court. Act accordingly!
For more tips on how you can be better prepared to fight for your kids be sure to contact us!