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Understanding Father's Custody Rights

Father's custody rights have improved greatly since the overhaul of Florida’s custody and visitation laws in 2008. A father now has the same rights as the mother when it comes to child custody. Lawyers representing men in divorce and custody cases, like Matthew P. Irwin, now have a stronger position from which to argue their clients’ right to more time with their children. Understanding father’s custody rights, means understanding that men no longer have the burden to prove that they should have custody or have as much time with their children as the mother. Rather it is now the mother’s burden to prove that father should not have equal time with the child if that is her goal.

Understanding Father's Custody Rights Based on Children’s Best Interests

legal help for domestic violenceWhile Florida’s laws put fathers on the same footing as mothers, it is not the father’s interests that are being protected. Rather, the state is looking out for the best interests of the minor children involved.

The state recognizes that children grow up more healthy and stable when they have continuing and frequent contact with both parents and develop healthy relationships with both parents. To foster joint parenting efforts that are beneficial for the children involved, the state has actually abolished the terms “custody” and “visitation.” Instead, the law requires parents to develop parenting plans or timesharing plans that outline which parenting responsibilities each parent will have and when they will each have time with the children.

With the new emphasis on joint parenting, courts will not grant one parent more time with a child than the other unless there is significant reason to do so. A parent whose job makes them less available ora parent with a history of domestic violence are examples of situations that would warrant an unbalanced custody arrangement.

The state also recognizes that it’s in the best interest of children when their parents are able to cooperate and make decisions jointly without interference from the court. For this reason, the court only makes decisions regarding custody and visitation when the parents are incapable of coming to agreement.

Child Custody Lawyer Still Necessary to Protect Father's Custody Rights

Although the new custody and visitation laws promote cooperation between divorcing or separated parents, it doesn’t mean that a father’s custody rights are protected. In fact, because divorces and custody issues are highly emotional, it can be very difficult for each parent to see when they are being unreasonable or treading on the other’s rights. And, despite the change in law, many people still assume that the mother has more right to the children — even fathers commonly believe this. For these reasons, it’s advisable to have a child custody lawyer represent you in both the courtroom and in parenting plan negotiations. A lawyer can protect your rights and help you understand what is reasonable and what is not.

The Men's Rights Law Firm is a Cape Coral, Florida family law firm focused on protecting men's rights in divorce and custody cases. His first client was himself, winning custody of his kids in his own divorce case without the help of an attorney. Since then, Mr. Irwin has gone on to help hundreds of men protect their rights in cases involving child custody, child support, paternity, divorce and other family law matters. He also plays an influential role advocating men's rights in Florida legislation, appellate decisions and local government programs. Please visit our family law blog to stay updated on family law matters in Florida and throughout the United States.

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