The assumption used to be that the mother would get sole or primary custody of children in a divorce. This old way of thinking is eroding.
While mothers may have an easier time in custody battles, whether for biological reasons or simply a “that’s the way it is” mentality, father’s have rights. If you want a relationship with your children, it is important to establish a child custody arrangement that works for you.
Sharing custody of your child or children can be a great option. Especially for couples who split amicably, a joint custody agreement could be the best way for the child to spend quality time with both parents.
There are different ways to set up joint custody arrangements depending on the lifestyle and schedules of each parent. If it works for both parents and the children, joint custody may be the best option for fathers.
Courts in Arizona encourage joint custody, as it is often in the best interest of the child. However, in some circumstances you may be able to file for legal custody, which allows you to make important decisions on behalf of your child.
Children outside of marriage
For fathers of children out of wedlock, custody can be more complicated. If you are unmarried, the mother will likely get custody unless paternity is established. This can be done through a paternity test or by having both parents sign a birth certificate.
The good news for fathers is the court system is set up in the best interest of the child, and that usually means maintaining a relationship with the father.