The family court systems of the United States have undergone unprecedented changes in the past few decades. What were once persistent unfair trends in the family court system have changed in various ways, especially when it comes to the treatment of fathers seeking custody of their children in divorce and custody determinations.
Unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation persists surrounding fathers in the family court system. If you are a father bracing for a divorce in the near future, you must not let the following myths and misconceptions diminish your confidence as you head into your proceedings.
Myth #1: Mothers Always Win Custody
While it is true that for many years the family court was unfairly biased in favor of mothers obtaining majority custody of their children, attitudes among family court officials throughout the country have evolved in recent years, now more appropriately recognizing that fathers are equally capable parents to mothers. Unfortunately, long-standing tropes and stereotypes regarding mothers and fathers cause many divorcing fathers to wrongfully assume they have no hope of obtaining custody.
When parents divorce or unmarried parents dispute custody, the judge overseeing the case must determine what type of custody arrangement would be most beneficial to the child. As long as a father is proven to be a fit and capable parent and a safe influence for their children, the judge may not unfairly bias their ruling in favor of the mother.
Myth #2: Fathers Always Pay Child Support
The myth that fathers always pay child support in custody determinations stems from the fact that, in general, men are more commonly the higher-earning spouses in divorce cases. Child support determinations hinge on the custody terms between parents and their respective financial circumstances. The custodial parent, or the parent who obtains the greater share of physical custody, typically receives child support payments from the noncustodial parent.
In the event that a father obtains more physical custody than their child’s mother and both parents earn equivalent income, the mother is likely to face a child support obligation to the father. Child support hinges on custody terms, the child’s needs, and the financial disparity between the parents, not the sex of the custodial parent.
Myth #3: Custody Orders Are Unchangeable
It’s relatively common for custody and support determinations to result in terms that one parent finds disagreeable. Any parent is likely to be distressed when a family court judge delivers a ruling that is contrary to their hopes and expectations for their custody determination. It’s possible that you may end up with a custody order that you believe to be unfair, unsuitable for your child’s best interests, or the result of illegal bias from the judge.
The family court system provides a modification process that allows you to seek reasonable changes to a standing family court order. If you believe the terms of a custody order or the conditions of your child support arrangement are biased or unreasonable for any reason, you can petition for reasonable changes. It’s also possible to file a petition for modification after any major life event that affects your family court order.
Myth #4: It Isn’t Worth the Investment to Hire a Family Law Attorney
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make as they head into divorce proceedings is assuming there is no point in hiring an attorney. Legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset, no matter what your family court case entails. You will be able to rely on your legal team to handle all your case’s procedural aspects, such as filing deadlines and documentation requirements.
Regardless of how your case unfolds, a good attorney can significantly impact the case’s final outcome. Fathers who allow misconceptions about their chances in family court must remember that the right attorney can substantially improve the outcome of every facet of their case. If you are concerned about the cost of attorneys’ fees, your attorney’s value in securing the custody conditions you prefer, the financial terms you find most agreeable, and the most expedient resolution to your case can easily make up for your legal expenses.
Myth #5: Family Courts Are Unfair to Fathers
Unfortunately, while this is a myth today, this was not always the case. Many of the negative misconceptions carried by modern fathers stem from widespread mistreatment and unfair bias faced by fathers in family courts throughout the country. Today, family court judges are more measured in their assessments of a child’s best interests, and this includes giving fathers equal consideration as parents to mothers in custody disputes.
If you have any reason to believe the outcome of your recent custody case was the result of unfair bias, the judge’s adherence to outdated stereotypes, or other variables you believe to be unconscionable, it is essential that you discuss your concerns with your attorney as soon as possible.
What to Expect From a Fathers’ Rights Attorney
Many family law attorneys throughout the United States have started offering legal services aimed specifically at fathers in the family court system. This trend arose from a need to address the aforementioned persistent myths and other challenges facing fathers in modern family court cases. Today, fathers have the right to expect fair treatment in family court proceedings. This means that judges resolving custody and support must acknowledge fit fathers as equal to fit mothers for the purposes of allocating parental rights and responsibilities.
When you have an experienced fathers’ rights attorney handling your case, you may discover more strategies for securing your preferred custody and support terms than you initially expected. A good lawyer will help you take full advantage of your legal options, significantly improving your chances of securing the best possible outcome for your case.
Custody disputes, divorces, and other family court cases can be incredibly difficult for any father, and legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset no matter what your case entails. If you have specific questions about an impending family court case or are worried about your legal standing due to the fact that you are a father, reach out to an experienced fathers’ rights attorney to get the answers and support you need.