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How a father can earn child custody rights

Societal norms inevitably change during the maturation of a country. The United States has seen countless changes throughout our history from Constitutional Amendments, changes to the rights of Americans, including minorities, women, and the LBGT community, and less noticeable changes in general roles in both the family and the workplace.

For example, a few decades ago, it was generally assumed that the father in a family would take on the role of the "breadwinner" or wage earner for the family, while the mother would care for the house and any children from the family. But more recently, we are seeing more and more women maintain their careers in the workplace, and men deciding to stay home to become "stay-at-home dads."

This also means that fathers, more than ever before, are having their rights recognized when it comes to decisions that are made while a couple is in the process of a divorce. A father can be just as important a caregiver as a mother, which plays a large role with regards to child custody decisions. If a child is born in a marriage, paternity is presumed to be the husband of the wife giving birth. If a child is born outside of a marriage, a simple and inexpensive paternity test can be done to prove paternity with up to 99 percent accuracy. You can start the process by reaching out to your local Office of Child Support Enforcement.

There are many factors that courts take into consideration when determining child custody. They include but are not limited to the ability of each parent to take care of the child including physical, mental and financial stability of each parent and the relationship each parent has with the child. The courts focus on the best interests of the child, which often means that they will look to determine who is the primary caregiver.

If you are on the verge of a divorce, it is still important to understand how the laws work and how decisions are made in court. The decisions you make during the process of a divorce, whether it is regarding property division, child custody or child support, will have a long-term impact on much of your life. You may find it in your best interest to speak with a lawyer who deals with family law to help you along the way. The decision could prove to be very rewarding towards protecting your rights and your future.

Source: the spruce, "Factors Used to Determine Child Custody for Fathers," Debrina Washington, September 28, 2016

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