New York Family Law Courts enforce state laws that comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. According to these laws, custody decisions must be made in the best interests of the child. No one parent is to be shown preference from the start – rather, both parents are to be equally considered against a set list of factors.
Deciding factors for child custody cases include, but are not limited to:
- Each parent’s existing relationship with the child;
- The average percent of time each parent spent with the child during the marriage;
- Each parent’s ability to care and provide for the child;
- Each parent’s work schedule and capacity to spend quality time with the child;
- Any history of domestic violence;
- Both parents’ ability to cooperate; and
- The child’s preference (if old enough as deemed by the Court).
So Why Don’t Fathers Get Custody More Often?
Who usually spends the most time with the children? The mother. Who is usually the one dropping them off and / or picking them up from school? The mother. Who is usually the one caring for the children at home by getting them dressed, preparing their food, helping with their homework, and keeping them clean and cared for?
Now, the key word is "usually." This is not always the case in every household. We live in a progressive era where the roles of mothers and fathers are much more fluid. In many situations, the mother and father both work during the day and share childcare responsibilities when they are home. There are more and more "stay-at-home dads" and "career moms." However, the majority of households still involve a father who is away working during the day while the mother spends the most time caring for the home and the children.
This is why mothers are granted custody more often than fathers; not because they are more deserving by nature or by law – the law clearly states that mothers and fathers have equal importance in a child’s life – but because mothers are often the most involved with the children before the divorce. Therefore, the Court often decides that it is in the best interests of the child or children if the mother is the one with custody.
Fathers’ Rights to Custody & Visitation in NY
So what can you do as a father? Do not lose hope! Speak with a Dutchess County child custody lawyer from the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC today to discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional. If there is valid reason to argue that it is not in the child’s best interests to remain with their mother – such as violence, substance abuse, or an inability to care for the child’s basic needs – then you may have a case to fight for custody.
Call (845) 605-4330 today to speak with a custody lawyer in Beacon, NY!