As family law attorneys, we handle a lot of cases involving father’s rights. Most of the time, our clients are genuinely caring fathers who only want to have a fair and equal relationship with their children. However, there is so much misinformation about father’s rights in family court, that we felt it was necessary to write this article with the top 5 things dads should know about family court.
1. Don’t Wait To File Your Custody Case.
It never fails that our fathers often tell us that they waited to file because they thought mom would come around, or they just wanted their child to get older, or they just didn’t want an argument. WRONG WRONG WRONG! As a father, you need to fight for your rights from the very beginning. If you want equal time, you need to insist on equal time from the minute your ex takes your child. Don’t wait for a judge to decide and definitely don’t wait for your ex to come to her senses. Don’t settle for a temporary schedule. Insist on your right to equal time from day 1.
2. Do Not Bring Up Child Support In Custody Conversations.
Seriously, every dad who has ever brought up child support first, leaves us with a sense that they only want custody to avoid child support. In Nevada, child support is statutory. It is necessary to be curious about what a support obligation will look like but this should come after a custodial schedule is decided. Bringing up child support every time there is a custody discussion will have you labeled as wanting custody to avoid support. There is a time and place for child support discussions.
3. Hire An Experienced Custody Lawyer.
I cannot tell you the number of times a client has come to us having signed a parenting plan or agreeing to a custody schedule without a lawyer reviewing it or after they have hired a cheap, inexperienced attorney. The reality is that once you have a signed custody agreement, it is very difficult to undo. It is worth the money time and effort to find a custody attorney that experience with representing fathers in family court.
4. Have A Schedule In Mind.
The number of resources available for proposed custody schedules are astronomical and can be found with a basic google search. Don’t just tell your ex you want equal time. You need to be specific about the days and times
you want. Think about your holidays too. Any schedule you propose should maximize your time. Aim for your days off at the very minimum. Also, if you have children from another relationship, you should be incorporating their
schedule into your proposed schedule.
5. Be Careful What You Wish For.
In many custody cases, whether it is a mother or father, we often see parents who are motivated by something other than their child’s best interests. Some parents are motivated by money (they want child support or want to avoid child support). Some parents want to have “control” over their child or see their children as a way of keeping tabs on their ex. These are bad reasons to pursue custody. Be realistic with yourself, your children and your schedule.
If you truly cannot exercise or do not want to exercise joint custody, then don’t ask for it. Your children will be happy to just spend quality time with you regardless of whether it is equal time.
We hope this article has been helpful and has shed some light on things you should know about child custody. If you or someone you know needs a custody lawyer, call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.