- Author Holcy Thompson
- Published December 3, 2011
- Word count 705
Tops Tips on Fathers Rights
The term fathers rights can take on a few different meaning. In the broadest sense, it relates to a movement which pushes for more recognition of the rights of fathers in what is often perceived to be a judicial system which favors mothers in cases of divorce. In a more specific sense, it means the individual rights of a father in a divorce or separation situation. We'll cover both of these issues in this article – the broader movement as well as the actual rights you have as a father if your marriage is splitting up.
The Bias of Family Courts
One of the core ideas of fathers rights activists is that fathers are discriminated against by the family court system. Divorce law in many states tends to give custody to whichever parent is deemed to be closest to the children and seen as most instrumental to carrying on their lives unaffected. This notion grows out of the idea that the divorce should affect children as little as possible, so custody should also reflect the "status quo" of life before the divorce as much as possible for the children. Because in many traditional families the father is the main breadwinner and the mother stays at home to look after the children, the mother wins custody almost by default in many of these situations.
Fathers' advocates argue that this is unfair because it restricts fathers in their right to be a parent. Advocates of fathers rights also tend to point out that children should be raised by both parents (except in cases where a parent has been abusive). In this argument, the best interests of the children (on which child custody laws are built) are to have both parents involved in their lives. So the best interests of children are not very well represented by the current legal model which tends to be lopsided towards giving sole custody to mothers.
The movement has also strongly criticized the current models of child support used because they usually end in fathers paying money to mothers, even in shared custody scenarios. In such a scenario the father is left with less money to support the children when he has custody of them.
Individual Rights of Fathers
First of all, you have a right to have a relationship with your children unless you have actually taken action which would lead to you forfeiting that right, such as being physically violent towards your wife or the children themselves. If you're not at fault, you have every right to have a relationship with your children and you should fight for that right. The law is intended to reach a conclusion which serves the best interests of the children. You need to demonstrate that having a good relationship with you is in their best interests.
Be aware that your wife may produce trumped up charges in order to make a case against you for sole custody – such as accusing you of abuse when you're guilty of no such crime. You know the character of your ex-wife so you'll know whether this situation might apply to you or not. If this happens, you need to get the best lawyer you can and gather all the evidence possible to prove that you're innocent of such crimes. Unfortunately this often comes down to a "your word against hers" situation, in which case the way your character and your wife's character is represented in court becomes of ultimate importance. In other words you win such a case by demonstrating that you're not the type of person who would abuse his family, and she is the type of person capable of lying about that.
Even without going to such extremes, your ex may attempt to block you from seeing your kids. It's important to remind her not to let her own selfish interests get in the way of what's best for the kids and that by blocking them from having a father, she's actually hurting them the most. You can often do a lot more by addressing your wife directly than battling through the courts – court should be a last resort when your wife simply won't give in and listen to reason.
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