As a dad, you understand how important it is to protect the relationship you have with your children after a divorce. Your marriage may be over, but you want to maintain the role you have in the lives of your kids, even if the mother of your children does not respect your custody rights. You have the right to fight for equitable access to your children and to protect your rights as a biological parent.
In the past, New Jersey family courts often preferred to give mothers primary custody. They commonly allowed fathers to only have visitation on weekends or on specific evenings. These types of custody arrangements alienated fathers who were loving, involved parents, and they had the potential to cause harm to the kids as well. Dads may now find it easier to get custody and visitation, but it is still in your interests to know your rights and how to protect them.
Build your case
If an out-of-court solution to your custody concerns is not possible, you may have to fight for fair parenting time and reasonable access in court. If preparing for litigation over custody and visitation matters, the following steps may be helpful as you seek to build a strong case:
- Keep track of any time the mother violates your rights, such as refusing to stick to the terms of a temporary custody and visitation order.
- Keep careful track of your finances and gather documentation that will validate your claim that you are able to provide stability and security for the kids.
- Do not compromise or agree to terms before you go to court if they are truly not fair or in the best interests of your kids.
It will also be helpful to remember not to listen to negative stories and discouraging accounts from others who were in your shoes at some point. Every situation is different, and you should not allow one person’s experience to keep you from pursing your custody rights.
Where should you start?
If you will have to fight for your custody rights or to have access to your kids, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. It may help to start simply by learning as much as you can about your parental rights as a father. Dads play a critical role in the lives of their kids, and your children will benefit when you advocate for this important relationship.