New York Father’s Rights Lawyer
When it comes to child custody, some believe women have an unfair advantage in battles for parental rights. While this may be true of legal custody cases, it seems more true of situations in which there is no marriage to dissolve. A closer look at parenting and child custody practices reveals a stacked deck against fathers seeking to be a responsible parent to their children.
Unmarried Fathers Have It The Worst
In divorce and child custody hearings, the ultimate decision is made by a judge. In those circumstances, he weighs the evidence presented against doing what’s best for the child or children, attempting to help the family stay as connected as possible. Unless one parent is deemed unfit, usually do to drug or alcohol abuse or a propensity for violence, the court tries to establish some form of joint custody.
In cases where a couple remains unmarried, there’s no need for family court. The couple splits up and divides their property as amicably as the circumstances allow, but that also means the children usually remain in the mother’s custody. When this occurs, there is no legal recourse for the fathers and they’re forced to lose contact with their children in most cases. For unmarried couples, it becomes the mother’s decision as to whether she’ll grant the father partial custody or visitation rights of his children.
There is an option to resolve this situation, but many unmarried fathers simply don’t have the money to initiate custody proceedings. The father would have to foot the bill for a paternity test, as well as for a child custody lawyer. This is a costly maneuver and one that most unmarried men are ill prepared to undertake, while also attempting to support themselves.
Family Court Mistakes Most Men Make
1. Failure To Respond
Very often, men neglect to respond to a family court summons, because they assume it’s just something their former partner is initiating out of anger. They believe she’ll drop the case eventually and propose a custody agreement without involving the courts. When this happens, the court rules in favor of the woman by default. In New York alone, 42% of divorce judgments were decided in this manner.
2. Following Unprofessional Legal Advice
Divorce is all too common nowadays, so most people have had some experience in family court. This tends to leave them feeling capable of dispensing legal advice and men are more likely to take this kind of armchair legal advice than women. The problem is that most of the information passed along is either outdated or was never really true in the first place.
3. Signing Off On A Bad Settlement
Some men will sign off on a settlement to rush it through, even when the terms don’t meet with their expectations. Once a settlement has been signed, it can be very difficult to establish a new custody arrangement. In some cases, it may even be impossible to renegotiate terms.
4. Giving Up
Men very often become frustrated and abandon the custody hearing, if they feel as though the court is going to side with the mother anyway. Even when the deck seems stacked, it’s important to follow through with the process. There’s no telling what may sway the judge’s opinion and sticking with the process at least shows the father’s commitment to remaining in his children’s lives.