The percentage of fathers winning custody varies from one state to another. Generally, statistics show that fathers win custody in only 18.3% of the time across the United States.
Most men who do not win physical custody are granted visitation rights that vary from one state to another. If the court finds that a father is abusive or engaged in behaviors that make him unfit to parent the child, some rights may be restricted.
Certain states have better terms for fathers than others. These states encourage 50/50 custody where both parents are given equal parenting time in a situation where both parents are fit to hold custody. These states include Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Kentucky, Arizona, and Alaska among others.
These are good states for fathers.
Other states have been deemed the worst for fathers according to a research study done by Custody X Change. These states give fathers less parenting time than mothers.
These states include Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohia, and Washington just to mention a few. While in these states, it doesn’t mean that all fathers get less parenting time.
When fathers get shared parenting time, they have an equal say in every decision made about the child. Shared Parenting not only benefits fathers but children as well.
The main reason is because both parents are able to provide a stable environment where the child can thrive developmentally and emotionally without having to deal with the negative consequences of a single parent home.
Step by Step Guide on How a Father Can Get More Parenting Time
Even in the so-called worst states for fathers, a father can still get equal parenting time with the children, in situations where a father proves that he is just as responsible and fit as the mother. A father may get more parenting time by observing the following:
Being a Great Parent
A great parent means a responsible parent. A father may win more parenting time if he is concerned with the welfare of the child or children.
It doesn’t matter whether it is by court order or local arrangements that have been made with the other parent after a divorce or separation. Even after losing physical custody or being granted less parenting time, a father should not lose hope since there is still time left that he can request for more parenting time in the future.
At this stage, a father must get involved and understand the needs of the child. This includes the progress in school, health matters, and other needs that may be valuable in the life of the child or children.
A concerned father who wants to get more parenting time would also want to keep in contact with the child’s teachers, and also to attend to the needs of the child’s extracurricular activities.
Following the Visitation Schedule
If you want to seek more parenting time as a father in the future, you should put what you have been given into practice by not missing your visitation time, or being late.
It doesn’t matter whether it is a court-ordered visitation or the one that you and your ex-spouse have arranged. You need to avoid rescheduling and adhere to your visitation time where possible.
If you have recently separated or divorced and you can communicate with your ex-spouse, you may try to negotiate for more visitation time directly with the other parent.
This will help you negotiate for better parenting time during child custody hearings, or even when you want to modify an already existing visitation order.
Filing for Custody Modification
There are several reasons to file for child custody modification and among them is to have more parenting time.
As a father who has been granted visitation rights by the court after a custody decision was made, you may seek to have adjustments on your parenting time where you think there have been tremendous changes of circumstances.
If you have been disciplined enough and have followed the visitation schedule to the letter, you can request the court to give you more parenting time and the court will consider your application. While doing that, you should give adequate reasons why, as a father you are seeking to have more parenting time with the child.
In addition to that, if you have sufficient evidence to prove that the mother has not been caring enough or attentive to the needs of the child, you may use the same as a father to seek court approval of your modifications.
Above anything else, you must always show the willingness to co-parent. This supports the best interests of the child or children.
You must as a father always be present to attend to the needs of the child together with the mother, if necessary.
It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with the mother while raising the kids. But you should be civil in each other’s presence.
Co-parenting means sharing costs for child support, catering to all the needs of the child, and talking to your child or children through phone conversations, text messages, or emails.
This also means you encourage the same with the other parent. When you are willing to co-parent, communicate with the mother and the child or children, the court will be more receptive to your request and you are likely to get more parenting time.
Respecting the Mother and The Children
By respecting the mother, you are more likely to win her over when it comes to negotiations about the child or children. She will be more willing to listen to you and perhaps agree to your requests to have more parenting time.
Always ensure that you don’t raise issues that may affect the child or children in their presence, and always show courtesy in your calls or text messages.
Respecting the other parent just makes the most sense in the eyes of the court, and your children.
Reaching Agreements Outside the Court
If you are on good communication terms with the mother, as a father, you already know the complexities that exist in court, and the probability of winning, especially if you live in states that have not adopted 50/50 parenting time.
In this situation, you should try your luck in settlements outside of the court with your ex-spouse and be willing to compromise where you can.
You may also opt to have a mediator to help both of you reach an agreement without involving the court. This would be easier for a father to negotiate for more parenting time by explaining to the mother how it would be beneficial for the child or children.
Outside the court, you are likely to agree to have more parenting time as a father.
As a father looking for the best practices to have more parenting time, you should always embrace the above tips and apply them where possible. A father is likely to get more parenting time if he is concerned about the welfare of the child or children, sticks to the visitation schedule without missing, and shows respect to the mother and the children among the other tips that we have highlighted.
You may also work with a good attorney to guide you on what to do in order to get more parenting time regarding your case. This is because each case is unique and there is no one-fits-all criterion that would work for all the fathers. What may work for a father in Florida may not work for a father in Tennessee or Washington.