Getting a Fair Custody Arrangement: Advice for Dads

Most courts have laws that prohibit discriminating against a parent based on gender. Their laws basically state that a father is to be considered equal to a mother in child custody cases and gender should not be a factor in the court’s decision. Strangely, more often than not, custody is awarded to the mother while the father is allowed to see his child every other weekend.

How are so many dads ending up with skimpy visitation if the court isn’t supposed to discriminate based on gender? Why aren't more parents creating shared custody agreements?

The following will provide information on actions you can take to get your desired timeshare.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

How custody decisions are made

Judges base their decisions on the best interest of the child. There are many factors that are considered when determining what is best for a child. The child’s history of care and maintaining continuity in a child’s life are key factors.

Mothers are traditionally considered to be the nurturers and caretakers of their children. This mentality applies whether or not the mother is a stay at home mom or works outside of the home. Judges are reluctant to take a child away from her momma if the mother has been the person who has served as the child’s primary caregiver. It is a tough obstacle to overcome but it can be done if you know your rights and fight for them.

Ways to pursue the timeshare you want
Option 1: Draft a shared custody agreement with the mother

If you don’t want an every other weekend kind of visitation schedule, do not agree to one. This old standard visitation schedule represents the bare minimum amount of time a father should be able to spend with his child.

You have every right to see your child more often and should request a shared visitation schedule. It may seem easier said than done, but working out a shared custody agreement with your ex is the best way to get the time with your child you want and deserve.

Option 2: Petition the court for more time

If you do not ask for more parenting time, you aren’t going to get it. It’s that simple. Petitioning the judge for more visitation time should be done if you are unable to reach an agreement with your child’s mother.

It is not unreasonable to ask to be able to see your child at least once a week. What is your work schedule like? You are more likely to get the time you want with your child if you are going to be the one taking care of him.

Making your schedule

If you can't reach an agreement with the other parent, you'll have to make your own custody schedule. When drafting a visitation schedule, consider your and your child's mother's work schedules, and ways to increase the time you get with your child.

Tailor parenting time to each parent's availability

If your child is in daycare every day after school, and you and the mother both get off work at five, you may want to consider picking up your child one or two days a week. You could keep her overnight (and take her to school in the morning) or until shortly before bedtime. Either way, it is time you can spend with your child, helping her with homework, having dinner, and spending normal middle of the week time together.

Find ways to increase your parenting time

“Every other weekend” visitation was established in order to give both parents the opportunity to spend time with their child on weekends. What will work for you? It is unlikely that a judge will give you your child every single weekend, but asking for three weekends a month (such as the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend), even if it is every other month, might work.

If you know your ex works weekends, you may want to see if you can have your child during that time.

If the mid-week visits are not overnights (you should live close enough to the child’s school that taking her to school in the morning would not be burdensome on you or her), a schedule such as this (with two mid-week visits) would give you 4-6 overnights per month (your ex-wife would have 24-26) but you would be able to see your child 15 or more days out of the month. The only day your ex would not see him would be the Saturdays that fall on your weekend.

Does that sound fair? Is it fair that the mother would see her child every day except for two or three days a month?  Your child would still be able to see you about half of the days in a month. A schedule where you saw you child every other weekend and two evenings per week will still have your child with the mother more than 80% of the time. It does not seem like an unreasonable request. You could even ask for more time than this.

In summary

If you want to get more time with your child, your reasons should be sincere. It shouldn’t have anything to do with lowering the amount of child support you have to pay or seeking revenge on your ex-wife. As your child’s parent, you are entitled to spend time with him and entitled to play a part in raising him. You just need to know what you want and be prepared to fight for it.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Plan

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan