How attitudes toward custody for fathers have changed
Some fathers in Missouri may be concerned that they will face bias in family court when they are trying to get custody of their children. Traditionally in divorce cases, mothers were awarded custody because it was assumed that they would stay home with their children while the fathers continued to work outside the home to continue caring for their children. However, attitudes toward the roles of mothers and fathers have changed over time, and courts have followed suit.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case for fathers. A judge is supposed to make a decision about child custody based on the best interests of the child, and some may assume that it is in the child’s best interests that the mother has custody. Typical myths that may guide this decision are that fathers cannot be nurturing, do not have the time to care for children or do not know enough about how to care for children.
However, fathers can prepare to demonstrate in court that they can be a good parent as well. Working with an attorney that supports their claim, they can bring documentation that shows the strength of their relationship with the child. The ability and willingness to communicate well with the other parent is also important.
Child custody cases do not have to go to court. Parents may be able to reach an agreement through negotiation. There are many different arrangements that may suit them, including joint custody. Visitation time can be generous even if one parent has primary custody, and a child can end up with nearly as much time with the noncustodial parent if that is what parents prefer. As a judge would do, they should attempt to create an agreement for child custody and visitation that is in the best interests of the child.