Though the Michigan courts do not discriminate against dads, getting joint or full custodial rights of their children is often an uphill battle. If you plan to petition for full or joint custody, you should prepare yourself for a difficult legal fight, especially if the mother also files for custody. Verywell Family shares a few tips to help fathers win custody.
One factor that judges consider when determining custody is whether a child has his or her own space at a parent’s house. Regardless of how big or small your setup is, carve out a private area for your child. Document it via drawings or pictures so that when the judge does inquire about your living arrangements, you are prepared to answer fully and honestly.
If you do not already do so, you should begin to attend all of your child’s educational, social and religious functions, as well as other important events. The judge will want to know that you participate in all aspects of your child’s life, and not just those that are convenient for you. Your involvement in major events, whether they involve birthday parties, sporting events or school plays, is evidence of a meaningful relationship between you and your child.
Verywell Family also suggests maintaining accurate records of the time you spend with your child. This is especially important if you and your partner live separately but have not yet obtained an official custody agreement.
Be respectful of your child’s mother throughout all court proceedings. The judge may view the way a father treats a mother as a reflection of his personality and an indicator of how he will behave toward the child. If you are rude your child’s mother, it may affect your chances of obtaining custody.
You should also be honest with yourself about what type of commitment you can realistically handle. It is a fact that many fathers have several responsibilities, including multiple jobs, work travel and other children. If you already have multiple responsibilities vying for your attention, ask yourself if you can really handle full custody.
Finally, have a plan in place. The judge will expect you, as well as the mother, to be able to answer questions regarding everything from your child’s education to your living accommodations to your financial situation. Have responses ready for all potential queries.
The contents of this article are not meant to serve as legal advice. The article is for informational purposes only.