If you’re a father who is headed toward
divorce, you may be nervous about the proceeding, especially if you have children
under eighteen with your wife. After all, it wasn’t long ago when
fathers seemed to get the short end of the stick in
We’re willing to bet that you can think of several examples of divorces
where the mother ended up with the kids and where the father only saw
his kids once a week and every other weekend. You might have even been
a child of divorce and your own father may have faded out of the picture.
After all, twenty years ago, many would argue that mothers did have an
unfair advantage in divorce.
Fortunately, much has changed in recent years. Family courts across the
country have changed their language so it is “gender neutral.”
Meaning, today’s child custody laws are not geared toward the mother.
Instead, they are focused on what’s in the best interests of the
children, and Pennsylvania judges know it’s not always sending the
kids to live with the mother most of the time.
So, You’re Getting a Divorce?
Let’s shift the focus on you for a moment. If you’re a father
who’s getting a divorce and you want primary custody of the children
or you at least want a shared custody arrangement, there is a possibility
that you can get what you want, but it depends on the facts of the case.
The factors that affect your ability to get
custody of your children:
- Your spouse’s age and health.
- Your spouse’s earning capacity.
- Your spouse’s wishes.
- Your wishes.
- Your children’s wishes.
- Any history of substance abuse.
- Any history of domestic violence.
- Any criminal record history.
- Any history of mental illness.
Ideally, you and your spouse will reach an agreement amongst yourselves
about child custody, and from there it will be signed off by the judge
and entered as a court order. However, if you both want as much time with
the children as possible but you’re fighting about it, the court
will look at the facts of the case and render a decision based on the
best interests of the children.
If you are both stable, loving parents who are eager to play active roles
in your children’s lives, the court is likely to encourage a shared
or joint custody arrangement. On the other hand, when one parent is clearly
less stable than the other parent, the court may award primary custody
to the parent who is “more fit” to care for the children.
Meanwhile, the other parent may get visitation.
Fathers Enjoy Equal Rights
Fathers today enjoy equal rights in child custody matters throughout the
nation. But unfortunately, too many fathers are still living in the past
and they waive their rights too easily. Then, they later regret their
decisions and try to go back to court to fix it and get more time with
If you’re a stable, loving father who is a good influence on his
children, remember that you have the same rights as the mother in child
custody matters. The courts are primarily concerned with the “best
interests of the children” doctrine in child custody matters.
At Cairns Law Offices, we help couples achieve a simple,
no fault divorce for just $219. If you and your spouse can agree on child custody,
we encourage you to give us a call!
Rights of Unemployed Dads in Divorce