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Child Custody

9 Most Common Reasons Dads Are Denied Custody and How to Overcome Them

The Dads’ Resource Center was founded in 2015 due to the belief that our family courts needlessly deny able and willing fathers’ access to their children. There is the expectation that courts will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the children. Too often they do immeasurable harm by denying children the much-needed love and nurturance of their fathers.


Over 200 fathers desperately trying to fulfill the sacred responsibility they have to their sons and daughters have reached out to the Dads’ Resource Center.  These are some of the barriers they face in our family courts:


Gender Bias: Every judge is different. There are those who recognize that children need both parents actively involved in their upbringing and treat mothers and fathers equally. There are those who do not see fathers as equals, including some who are openly dismissive of fathers. Going into any custody case it is best to expect that you will be held to a higher standard, and act accordingly. While working toward what you believe is best for you children, maintain a calm and reasonable demeanor at times.


Primary Caregiver Presumption: Most times at the point of a separation fathers defer to the mother as the primary caregiver. This ends up putting them at a disadvantage because courts often presume the parent who has been the primary caregiver is better suited for custody. Fathers need to have this in mind when the separation occurs.


Housing Concerns: Similarly, a father most often will leave the family home to ensure that there is stability for the mother and children. Especially when child support initiates a lot of fathers have a hard time finding a suitable place to live with room for their children, along with attaining the house goods needed to keep a home. The sooner he can get this situated the better.


Allegations of Domestic Violence: Even if unproven, allegations of domestic violence can significantly impact custody decisions. Depending on the nature of the relationship, a separating father should be attuned to this possibility and act carefully to lessen the likelihood of it occurring. And if does, immediately hire an attorney with experience in these types of situations.


Substance Abuse Issues: Substance abuse problems can be a significant barrier to obtaining custody. If a father has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, he should be prepared to show evidence of how he has worked through and put it behind him.


Involvement in the Child’s Education and Medical Care: Even if a father has deferred to the mother on medical and educational matters, he should have a working knowledge of what is going on with his children at school and with medical care.


Parental Alienation Claims: This is another area where fathers tend to be held to a higher standard. Regardless of how hard it may be, a father should strive to always act with grace and patience. Never talk negatively about the mother with the children and do your best to promote the mother-child relationship.


Effective Co-Parenting: Courts want to see mothers and fathers working together for their children. Even if it is not reciprocated in kind a father must respectfully coparent with the mother. This means providing information as needed or requested, being flexible and making accommodations if possible.


Legal Representation: Most parents have had no interaction with the courts prior to needing a custody determination. Picking and choosing a good lawyer is often more difficult than you might think. For tips on what to look for and questions to ask, go to:


How To Find a Good Child Custody Attorney


Parental separations are always difficult, with both parents experiencing major life changes and personal challenges. If disagreements reach the point where a judge will have to make decisions about the custody of your children, a father should be prepared for what might be coming. Be aware of the challenges you may face and proactively take steps to overcome them. For more information you can go to www.dadsrc.org


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