Getting access to your child is every father’s dream, particularly when they are faced with conflict with the mother of their child. Every father should be prepared for a difficult custody battle, whether they are filing for full custody or joint custody. This does not necessarily mean that the courts discriminate against fathers – it just means that custody is difficult to win full stop. The courts look at a number of different factors. Here are 5 tips to consider that could help you prepare for getting custody for the child you love:-
- Build a strong relationship – A father should make an effort to build a special bond with their child. This could mean involving themselves in their school work and making himself known to the child’s teacher. It is imperative that a father should ensure that he cares about his child’s progress and he is there to offer support as and when needed.
- Attend Important events/social gatherings – A good father would be required to get himself involved in the child’s social, educational and religious activities, particularly if they want to establish a strong relationship/bond. This may include attending school plays, Christmas events, religious ceremonies i.e. dedications/baptisms/christenings, birthday parties and sporting activities. A court would use evidence of the father’s involvement as a way of showing he strongly cares about the child. A father who takes the time to involve himself in such events/activities assures the child that the father cares very much about them.
- Pay Child Maintenance payments – A father who shows a good track record of continuous maintenance payments shows the father feels very strongly about getting custody of the child. If the father has an informal arrangement, it is imperative that he obtains receipts of payments/bank statements or a signed letter from the mother confirming safe receipt of the payments that have been paid to date.
- Prepare a safe and comfortable space for the child – It is important for the father to ensure that he makes his child feel safe and comfortable when they are away from their own home. It is also important for the father to make a special place for his child in his home. Despite the fact that the house may be small or big, a special place for the child is to help the child feel loved and know that they are cared about very much. It is good practice for the father to be organised because the court will want to enquire about adequate living accommodation. If the father has other family members living in the property and bedroom space is limited, depending on the sex of the child it is important that the father ensures the sleeping arrangements are suitable.
- Respect is paramount – Any father wanting custody of the child should respect the wishes and feelings of the mother. A father should always respect the mother of his child. The consequences in fathers who disrespect the child’s mother and/or are rude to the mother has a huge impact on the child’s wellbeing. Therefore, it may affect the father’s chance in obtaining custody of the child. If you respect your child’s mother you are showing your child that you care about the child and it reduces/avoids unnecessary conflict.
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