While strides have been made in recent years to protect fathers’ rights, there is still a tendency in some courts to favor mothers over fathers in matters of child custody. But the child’s best interests should always be the top priority, and the reality is that children are happiest and develop most healthily when both parents are actively and positively in the family picture.
Missouri moms and dads know that those early years in a child’s life are especially important in creating bonds and promoting a child’s general sense of security and well-being in the world, but fathers, and especially unmarried dads, sometimes have a difficult time asserting their parental rights.
Last week we discussed what is legally required of unwed Missouri fathers if they want to establish child custody or visitation rights. Now let’s think about some of the more subtle aspects of establishing legal paternity in court.
First, it is extremely important to make a good impression. You want to be yourself, but you don’t want to be too loose. There is much at stake in child custody hearings, and a judge wants to be sure that a father seeking custody or visitation rights is fully aware of the possibility of those rights not being granted.
Of course, fathers should also consider their appearance in court. You’ll want to be well dressed and respectful of the court proceedings. In any case, it is a good idea to be prepared by talking with your attorney about how the hearing will proceed.
It is also not a requirement that a father have a high income to establish his child custody or visitation rights. Income may be a factor in these decisions, but ultimately a judge will decide in favor of the family situation that best promotes the child’s well-being.
Source: St. Louis Public Radio, “Are Fathers’ Rights Fair And Equitable In Missouri?” Camille Phillips, Nov. 5, 2013