Understanding Child Custody Rights as a Father

Father holding his child

Divorce can be a stressful and confusing time—even more so for couples who have children. Cases that involve child custody disputes usually question what rights father have. This is accomplished by evaluating the ability of the father to gain legal or physical custody of his children. Some determining factors used to see whether the father is suitable for caring for the children consist of the father’s:

  • History with the child
  • Financial status
  • Mental health
  • Emotional state of mind

With all this, it’s important for a father to know their child custody rights, whether the divorce process is proceeding with ease as both parents are working together, or if there is a custody battle ensuing.

Types of Child Custody for Fathers

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, there are two different levels of custody, the first having to do with whether the parents share custody or not (i.e. joint custody versus sole custody).

Sole custody happens when only one parent has exclusive rights concerning the child or children. These arrangements are rare and are usually limited to situations where one parent has been deemed incapable or unfit to having any responsibility over the child or children. These cases will often involve past abuse or drug use of said parent.

Joint custody happens when couples who divorce still share parental responsibilities of the child or children.

The second level of child custody involves physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody primarily refers to who makes the ‘day-to-day’ decisions for the child. This can either be sole physical custody or joint physical custody. The physical custody label is often decided in connection with the parenting time schedule that is awarded.

Legal custody grants a parent the right to make long-term decisions about a child’s upbringing. The parent with sole legal custody can make decisions concerning the child’s education, religious training, medical care, and the legal right to sign relevant documents pertaining to the child. Joint legal custody is most commonly awarded to both parents, where they continue to work together on these decisions.

Finally, it should be noted that the custody agreement could be different for each child in the family.

Key Custody Battle Tips to Remember

If the child custody case needs to be determined by the court, it may be beneficial to keep these tips in mind to have the best outcome for your child:

  • Be willing to work with your ex-spouse
  • Exercise your parental rights, e.g. visitation
  • Request an in-home custody evaluation
  • Remember that perception is everything, be on your best behavior
  • Research family law and work with a child custody lawyer
  • Have proper documentation for any accusations you make against your ex-spouse
  • Arrive on time for pickups/exchanges and be sure to avoid constant rescheduling
  • Do not talk negatively about your ex-spouse with children and keep them out of the court case
  • Do not invent false stories about the ex-spouse
  • Do not abuse alcohol or drugs

Child Custody Lawyer in the Twin Cities

When filing for a divorce that includes a child custody case, consult with a family law attorney in your area. Having strong relationships with both parents is normally the best option for the child or children involved. It’s important that you find out what your rights are as a father. As experienced family law attorneys in Minneapolis, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our law firm, so we can review your case and be an advocate for you. Being specialized in child custody, parenting time, and father’s rights, we prioritize protecting you and your most important asset, your child.