Men face an uphill battle to win primary custody, or even 50/50 shared custody, of their children. Most judges default primary custody to the mothers. So how does a man win custody? By playing a no-errors ballgame.
Do not leave your children behind, if you want custody. Stay in the home with the children, or take them with you when you go. The court will look to what occurred in the past, and what is occurring in the present, when ruling on what will occur in the future.
Act early and work to get Temporary Orders that provide you the degree of custody you want for the long term. Temporary Orders tend to become the basis for permanent decrees. Judges do not like to change the status quo, if they can avoid it; so it is always better to start with a stronger position.
You have to be a great parent; the better parent. You have to put the kids first at all times. The kids have to be your top priority. You spend time with the kids, and you provide for all of their needs. You take them to school. You take them to the doctor. You attend their activities and games. You be in real life what you are telling the court you will be.
You do not fight with their mother. You have to be the perfect role model, take the high road, set a good example. You need to demonstrate what a great parent you are in front of others, who will then testify that you are a good parent. Domestic violence allegations can totally defeat a custody effort.
Every day counts. You cannot be an on-again/off-again Dad. You have to be active in every aspect of your children’s lives. Anything less than a sincere effort will be labeled as that and undermine your efforts with the court.
Develop a support network. Have people who support you and your goals. Know and communicate with teachers, sports coaches, health care providers, daycare providers, and babysitters. Have people and a plan for back-up when a kid gets sick, schedules change, etc. Have people who you can talk to and who will support your emotional needs; and those who can provide statements to the court, if necessary, about your parenting skills. Also have a competent legal team to help you understand your rights and obligations and to assist you in achieving your goals.