Fathers in Virginia who are going through a divorce might want to get custody of their children. However, many dads feel at a disadvantage in court since custody is traditionally awarded to mothers. Nevertheless, there are a few things a father can do to increase the likelihood of getting custody.
The first step is creating a paper trail. A dad should keep a record of all the time he spends with the child and of all the related expenditures. The father should also be ready to undergo questioning from a judge about his parenting relationship. A judge will want to learn about both parents' relationships with the child to help in deciding what is in the child's best interests.
The father should also avoid actions that could leave a negative impression with the court. For example, moving in with a new partner, taking the kids away unannounced or confrontations with the mother may hurt a father's chances of getting custody. Finally, fathers should remember that the children and their well-being is the most important thing.
Both mothers and fathers might also want to consider whether it would be better to share physical custody or arrive at an agreement through out-of-court negotiations. A court battle could be damaging to the children as well as the parents' ability to work together. However, negotiating does require cooperation, and if one is unwilling to cooperate, litigation might be necessary. It is likely that in the absence of issues such as abuse, neglect or addiction, a judge will consider it in the best interests of the child to spend some time with both parents even if the child primarily lives with one parent.