If you’ve lived in New York for your entire life, you may have clear memories of how things were in the past. Fifteen and twenty years ago, mothers almost always received preferential treatment in child custody cases. Very rarely would a father in New York get primary custody of his children. More often than not, the mother would have primary (residential) custody and the father would see his children one night during the week and every other weekend.
Fast-forward to today and much has changed. These days, fathers are given equal consideration in child custody cases in New York and in all 50 states. What is behind this sweeping change? One of the biggest reasons behind this change is the number of women in the workforce.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor: Nearly 47 percent of U.S. workers are women, 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 work, and in 40 percent of U.S. households, mothers are the sole or primary earners. With less stay-at-home mothers and with more stay-at-home fathers than ever before, mothers no longer have the advantage they once did in child custody cases.
The problem we run across is that a lot of fathers don’t realize that they have equal rights to custody. Instead of fighting for custody or at least asking for joint physical custody, they’ll quickly let the mother have physical custody and later on, they’ll regret their decision and want to know how they can ask for more time with their kids.
When Can a Father Win Custody?
Can a father win custody of his children? Yes, he can but it depends on the facts of the case. You see, the same reasons why a mother would win residential custody apply to a father who is seeking to be the custodial parent. Generally, a family court may award custody to a father under the following circumstances:
- The mother is physically abusive,
- The mother is mentally ill,
- The mother is neglecting the children’s basic needs,
- The mother is addicted to drugs or alcohol,
- The mother is incarcerated,
- The mother cannot provide the children food, a safe home, clothing, and necessary medical care, or
- The mother tends to abandon her children with friends or family for extended periods of time.
If the father is a good person and the mother is a stable, loving parent who is also seeking custody of her children, the court may be inclined to award a joint custody arrangement, one where both parents spend a substantial amount of time with their children.
To meet with a Beacon divorce lawyer, contact our firm today!