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Single Father Child Custody
Single Father Child Custody
It is possible for single fathers to win custody of their children in a divorce, but there are things that single dads can do to to make sure they are awarded custody. It may be difficult, but it is possible.
The Mother Almost Always Wins
Most people would agree that in a custody case, the mother is more likely to win than the father, especially if he is single. Why is that? The short answer is because that is the way it has always been, and tradition states that men go off to work and women stay home with their children. Secondly, it makes more sense biologically. Children are more attached to their mothers than their fathers. Lastly, many of the questions a deciding judge looks at have a natural bias towards mothers. Because of the aforementioned traditional roles, the children stay with their mother during the separation and get used to the new arrangement, which is normally living with mom and visiting dad. Typically, mom stays home and dad works and pays support, and the goal of a custody award is supposed to be maintaining stability for the children involved, and awarding custody to mom typically meets that goal.
Times are Changing
In the last 20 years or so, court decisions have slowly been changing, awarding single fathers more visitation and more custody rights. There are things that a single father can do to increase their likelihood of obtaining the custody arrangement they seek. It is the court's responsibility to find the best placement for the children based on a wide set of parameters, and more and more often fathers are being awarded custody.
The Polar Star
The question judges now face when awarding custody is this: "What is in the best interest of the child?" This best interest standard is referred to as the "polar star." In deciding the polar star, judges look at many factors, including:
- Does mom or dad have the better character and disposition to raise the child?
- Does the child prefer one parent over the other? Does he/she have a stronger bond with one parent over the other?
- What child-rearing skills do mom and dad have?
- Does mom or dad have an illness or habits that may harm the child or prevent them from caring properly for the child? Is one of them unfit to have custody?
- Is mom or dad better suited to meet the child's special needs, if there are any?
- What is each parent's motivation for seeking custody?
- Which parent is the most likely to let the child continue relationships with the other parent and extended family?
More and more single fathers are receiving custody of their children today than ever before because of improved decision-making and the court's focus on the needs of the child involved.