Pennsylvania fathers who are going through a divorce might wonder whether they will be at a disadvantage in family court if there is a custody dispute. This was often the case in the past, when the practice was usually to award custody to mothers with the assumption that fathers would continue working outside the home to support them. However, this has changed over the years.
In some courts, fathers may still find themselves fighting against assumptions that they are not qualified to care for their children. A judge may think fathers lack the time, the nurturing ability, or the knowledge to care for children. They can prepare themselves by working with an attorney and gathering evidence that shows that they have a close relationship with their children. They can also work on a parenting plan and good communication with the mother.
Courts use the best interests of the child as the basis for a decision in child custody cases, and some may believe the child should stay with the mother. However, the court will use other criteria in making this determination. This criteria might include what relationship each parent has with the child, how well parents communicate, the child’s needs and other factors.
Parents who are going to court to resolve a custody and visitation agreement should be aware that if they appear to be uncooperative, this could hurt their efforts. Courts prefer that children have a relationship with both parents, and each parent should make an effort toward encouraging that relationship. In many cases, parents may be able to reach an agreement with the assistance of their respective attorneys. This can give them more flexibility to create an arrangement that suits their lifestyle.