As a father, you have rights to your children. Do not ever allow somebody to tell you otherwise or make you feel like you somehow have less of a right to custody of your children than their mother has. New York’s child custody law does not specify gender when it discusses how custody is to be determined. However, biases in court and among parents often keep men from fully exercising their rights as fathers.

Fathers’ Rights are Parental Rights

A father has the following rights:

    • The right to seek custody or visitation with a child;
    • The right to maintain a healthy, consistent relationship with the child;
    • The right to establish a child support order for the child;
    • The right to seek a modification to an existing child support or custody order; and
  • The right to claim the child as a dependent on tax returns and insurance policies.

As you can see, these are identical to a mother’s rights. Despite this, courts sometimes assume that a father is less involved in his child’s life than the child’s mother because of outdated notions about gender roles and the division of parental duties in a household.


Legal Strategies for Fathers Seeking Custody and Visitation

It is important that you provide sufficient evidence to show that you are a fit, involved parent while the court determines your child’s custody order. This evidence can include:

    • Testimonies about your parenting style and involvement in your child’s life from other adults who interact with your child, such as teachers, daycare employees, and your child’s pediatrician;
    • Documentation showing your work schedule to combat assumptions that you are not home often or cannot spend much time with your children;
    • Available documentation and testimonies that show your previous cooperation with court orders regarding your children;
    • Copies of your pay stubs and tax returns to show that you are financially capable of providing for your child; and
  • Evidence that proves any false allegations made about you to be incorrect, such as clean drug test results if you are accused of abusing substances.

When there is a court order in place, follow it exactly. Do not give the court any reason to doubt your willingness to comply with its orders or your ability as a parent. If you feel your custody order is not fair, you can seek a modification to it. But do not disobey it because you feel it is unfair.

Work with a Dutchess County Family Lawyer Who Can be your Advocate

As a father seeking a fair custody arrangement for your child, you need a family lawyer who is in your court. Contact our team at The Colwell Law Group, LLC today to set up your legal consultation in our office and learn more about how we advocate for fathers and their rights. Remember, you have as much of a right to your child as your former partner has – do not let gender biases and assumptions get in the way of your role as a father.

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