If you are a father of a child or children heading into divorce proceedings, you likely have many questions. Your paramount concern very well may center on your rights as a father, during and after marriage dissolution proceedings.
As divorce proceedings commence, you must have a basic understanding of your legal rights. You need to appreciate how the law works in regard to a father and his children in a divorce setting. In addition, you must understand the reality that you best protect your legal rights by engaging the professional services of an experienced, tenacious Brooklyn father’s rights lawyer.
Legal Trends in Divorce and Father’s Rights
In the past, divorce laws and courts did favor women when it came to certain matters in marriage dissolution proceedings. The two primary areas in which women tended to be favored in divorce proceedings were in regard to matters pertaining to children and matters associated with money. In other words, in prior times, women tended to be favored in two of the most significant aspects of divorce proceedings.
Upon into the 1980s, alimony was awarded fairly commonly to women in divorce proceedings. In reality, women overall did have less favorable positions in regard to earning money and related issues. Thus, there existed some solid reasons in many cases why alimony was awarded with more significant frequency prior to the 1980s than is the case today.
When it came to issues in divorce cases pertaining to children, law, public policy, and the courts definitely favored women prior to the 1980s. Indeed, favoring women when it came to children in custody cases was written into the law in fairly direct ways.
By the 1980s, and certainly by the 1990s, states across the country began to actively revamp their laws to make statutes gender neutral when it came to issues like alimony and, particularly, child custody.
Although laws became gender neutral, the reality was that it took time, indeed takes time, for some courts to adapt to the idea that men have equal rights and standing in divorce proceedings when it comes to the custody of their children, and related issues.
Fathers and Parenting Time
Another trend has to move away from the concept of visitation to parenting time. A father who does not have primary custody of his child should never be relegated to the position or being a mere visitor in the life or his child or children. Hence, the development of parenting time. Ensuring that a noncustodial father obtains appropriate parenting time with his child or children is a vital concern in divorce proceedings.
Hire a Skilled brooklyn Father’s Rights Lawyer
The first step you need to take in retaining the services of committed, experienced Brooklyn father’s rights lawyer is to schedule an initial consultation. If you are intent on fully protecting your legal rights and interests as they pertain to your child or children, you need to be proactive in retaining legal representation.
While any Brooklyn family law attorney is likely to have some experience in representing clients in divorce proceedings, not all have the same background in understanding and appreciating the unique needs of fathers in marriage dissolution proceedings. Therefore, you do need to focus on finding an attorney that works with fathers in marriage dissolution, or paternity, cases.
At an initial consultation, you will be able to flesh out a lawyer’s background in not only divorce matters, but in representing fathers. You will obtain an overview of your case and you will be able to raise any questions you might have about your situation. As a general rule, there is not fee assessed for a preliminary meeting with a Brooklyn father’s rights lawyer.
Divorce is never easy and especially not when there are children involved, in which case it becomes necessary to sort through issues like custody, visitation rights and child support. Unfortunately, the laws and court system still tend to favor mothers when it comes to custody, which makes it essential that you hire an experienced Brooklyn fathers’ rights lawyer to ensure that you’re able to remain an integral part of your child’s life.
Understanding Your Rights as a Father
Thanks to the tireless work of fathers’ rights activists, things are much better than they once were. Up until a few decades ago, the majority of American courts operated under the doctrine of maternal preference to determine custody, which essentially meant that the mother was always given custody. Luckily, this type of direct gender bias has been removed from most state laws to give fathers a more fair chance in custody battles.
Just 20 years ago, equal custody was only given in around 5% of all divorce cases, whereas this number has gone up to 27% in more recent years. However, despite the fact that the laws no longer specifically prefer mothers in a custody battle, not all that much has changed in practice as the majority of courts still tend to favor mothers. This de-facto preference for mothers has led most states to pass laws requiring joint or shared custody except in cases where one parent is proven unfit.
Unfortunately, New York is not one of these states, which means that fathers in this state often face more of an uphill battle. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win joint or even full custody of your minor child, nor does it mean that you should be forced to pay more than your fair share of the costs associated with raising your child.
Fighting for Your Rights
Despite the apparent gender bias in favor of mothers, a brooklyn fathers’ rights lawyer can help negotiate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected. The fact that New York does not have a joint custody law means that this is often only granted in cases where both parents agree to share custody.
Should your wife fail to agree to joint custody and instead seek to have full custody, the court’s de-facto maternal preference means that there is a high chance you will come out on the losing end without the help of an experienced fathers’ rights attorney. Sadly, the vast majority of divorced couples fail to come to an amicable custody agreement, making it all the more important that you seek the assistance of a lawyer as soon as possible.
Only around 4% of custody cases ever go to court, with the vast majority of cases being settled out of court through negotiation and mediation. These numbers indicate just how important it is to choose a qualified, experienced fathers’ rights lawyer with the knowledge and negotiating skills to give you the best chance of getting a favorable deal.
Studies have shown that it is usually in a child’s best interest to retain the influence of both their mother and their father. No one would doubt the special relationship between a mother and her children, but as you full well know, the relationship between a father and his children can be just as important. This is most definitely true as far as the child’s well-being is concerned, but also for yours.
Suddenly being denied the right to custody or potentially even losing visitation rights altogether can be truly devastating. For this reason, fathers’ rights lawyers also have experience in protecting your parental rights from being interfered with due to your former spouse’s decision to relocate.
Unless your children’s mother has full custody, the courts may be able to help you prevent her from relocating. If your former spouse informs you of her intent to move, a lawyer may be able to help you file an injunction preventing the move on the grounds that it would interfere with your rights to see and help raise your child.
Of course, the fact that the courts still tend to favor mothers means that you could be facing a tough fight. Nonetheless, an experienced fathers’ rights lawyer can help you plead your case in court and give you a far better chance of winning a favorable decision that allows you to continue playing an important role in your child’s life. Otherwise, you may soon find yourself forced with the decision of following your former spouse and child in relocating or only being able to see your kid a few times a year at most.
No matter that the courts may sometimes be biased towards the mother, as a father, you should still have every right to share equally in both the costs and raising of your child. For this reason, it is essential that anyone currently facing a divorce, custody battle, visitation or child support hearing contacts our brooklyn fathers’ rights lawyers. With experience representing fathers in all types of cases, our team can help you plan for and plead your case in whatever ways gives you the best chances for success.