Sometimes, but not often, divorced fathers gain sole custody of their children. But because of this fact, most divorced fathers find themselves as part-time parents, often just seeing their children every other weekend. It does not feel good to be standing on the sidelines in most child-rearing matters, missing out on everyday activities such as helping with homework and putting a bandage on a scraped knee.
We know about the importance of both parents playing instrumental roles in their children’s lives. Each parent may have different strengths to bring to the parenting fold. As such, this provides balance in the children’s lives, exposing them to different and meaningful experiences. Fathers have rights that the other parent cannot ignore, and those rights include parenting time, custody and visitation and, sometimes, child support.
Sole and joint custody
Parenting advocates and psychologists have long espoused the importance that fathers play in their children’s lives. With strong and present fathers in their lives, children generally are better adjusted, have improved confidence and better progress in social development. Removing a father from this picture means taking all of that away.
Remember that fathers have rights, and this group includes divorced and unmarried fathers; the latter of whom must establish paternity to gain paternal rights. Here are some important rights related to custody:
- Seeking sole custody while securing parenting time with children. Gaining sole custody is possible, but rare. For that to happen, your former spouse must be deemed an unfit parent by the court.
- Seeking joint custody is a preferred route in divorce cases as both parents may have equal or close to equal time in parenting time with their children. Such an arrangement highlights how important it is to have a civil relationship with the other parent.
- Seeking primary physical custody in which the child primarily lives with you.
- Seeking a “bird’s nest” custody agreement, which is a type of shared custody arrangement. Here, the child lives full-time in the family home, while the parents take turns living in the home and caring for the children.
Fathers are champions for their children, and most of them want a continued presence in their lives. They have the right to be involved, care and nurture their children just as much as the other parent.