Child custody can become fairly murky territory to tread when the parents have never been married. In these cases, the Father may not have any legal standing with regard to his children. This leaves fathers of these children wondering what their rights are, and what they can do to ensure that their children have their best interests looked after.
Sometimes, separating parents can agree on a child custody arrangement that stands to benefit everyone. This is the ideal scenario, but it’s unrealistic to expect people to remain amiable during custody proceedings – especially if the breakup was a nasty one. Oftentimes, a judge will be left to make the final decision concerning legal and physical custody over children.
Whether the parents are unmarried or are divorced, this decision will be based on how the parents can best meet the needs of their children.
How is Child Custody Decided in These Cases?
While it may seem that the mother might be given custody over her children that is not the case. Fathers can and should fight for their legal rights of their children – as well as their children’s legal rights for their father. In the event of an unmarried father trying to obtain child custody rights, both parents will be looked into in great detail.
These cases can be more easily decided if one parent is shown to be unfit to have custody over the children, but this is not a typical arrangement. Most of the time, both parents are fit to have custody and must come to an agreement between themselves – and often with the assistance of lawyers and/or a judge.
Numerous factors will be considered in the awarding of custody rights over children, including:
- The children’s emotional bonds with both parents, including any statements regarding which parent they would rather live with.
- The employment status and current living arrangements of both parents. Which parent has the space in their home to have the children? Which parent is more gainfully employed?
- Do any children involved have special needs that one parent might be more suited to manage over the other?
- Any potentially harmful habits or illnesses that could prevent one parent from providing adequate care for their children.
If both parents prove to be quality caregivers that can put the needs of their children first, joint custody may be awarded. Joint legal custody grants both parents the rights to make long-term decisions that will affect their children’s present and future.
Joint physical custody pertains to whom the child will live with, and any arrangements that might need to take form if both parents have physical custody rights. For instance, a couple might agree that the children will live with one parent for a week, and then go to the other parent for the next week, and so on. This is, of course, just one example of a joint physical custody arrangement.
Hire a Lawyer to Help During This Difficult Time
It is challenging to remain objective during a big breakup, even when there are children involved. For this reason, it is advisable to get the help of a family law attorney that specializes in child custody cases. Family lawyers will be able to guide both parents toward the decision that is in the best interest of everyone involved – especially the children.