Fathers in a divorce case often feel disadvantaged. If you’re seeking custody of your child in Massachusetts, reach out to our skilled family law attorney for support and guidance.
When parents are separating or divorcing, one of the toughest decisions that they’ll have to make is that of who will have custody of shared children. While both parents have an equal right to seek custody of their children, fathers often feel disadvantaged and uncertain about what steps to take and whether or not they’ll be able to win their case. At the office of Heather Ward Law, our experienced family and fathers’ rights attorney can help you if you’re a father who wants to win a child custody case. Call our law firm today to get started.
1. Know Your Rights
The first step in winning a child custody case as a father in Massachusetts is knowing your rights. Regardless of what you’ve heard, there is no automatic presumption that a mother having custody is better for the child, even if the child is young. The tender years doctrine–which holds that during the child’s “tender” (younger) years, the mother should have custody–is outdated and no longer recognized by the courts. As a father, you have just as much of a right to seek custody of your child as does the child’s mother.
However, there is one exception to this: if you have not established paternity, then you have no parental rights. Paternity is established automatically at birth if a father and a mother are married, by both parents signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, or by a court order. If you haven’t yet established paternity, you should do so immediately.
2. Build Your Case
Winning a child custody case, whether as a mother or as a father, can be difficult. It’s important that you know what the court is looking for, how the court makes a determination (in the child’s best interests), and what evidence you’ll need to present to improve the outcome of your case. Tips for building your case include:
- Be active in the child’s life and attend school meetings, sporting events, social gatherings, etc.;
- Keep thorough records about when you spend time with the child, your role as a father, etc.;
- Have a plan for housing your child, including where your child will stay, how they will be transported to school, how you will manage meals and homework, and all other pertinent details; and
- Know who you can trust to testify to the court about your abilities as a father, including parents of the child’s friends, teachers and counselors, and any other important figures in your child’s life.
3. Work with an Experienced Fathers’ Rights Attorney
If you are serious about winning your child custody case, then one of the most crucial things that you should do is to hire an experienced family lawyer as early in the process as possible. An attorney can explain your rights, assist you in building your case, and advocate for you in and out of the courtroom.
At the office of Heather Ward Law, we care about you. Call our family attorney today at (617) 903-8955 or send us a message to request a consultation.