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Can a father win primary custody?

Some people feel like fathers are at an automatic disadvantage if they're seeking primary custody of their children.

In cases where shared custody isn't possible, it's important to remember that the court judges both parents by the same criteria. It's your level of interaction with your children and what seems best for them that controls the judge's decision -- not your gender.

Here's how to bolster your request for custody:

  • Never violate an existing court order for visitation. That means turning the kids back over on time and showing up for each and every visitation you have on time.
  • Make sure that you know how to care for your child. For example, if you have an infant, don't hand the child off for diaper changes or feedings -- know exactly how to handle everything on your own.
  • Never lose your temper in front of the kids, the social workers involved (if there are any) or the judge. Always remember, you are constantly being evaluated -- a cool head will make a better impression than a hot one.
  • Make sure that you have adequate child care plans in place. If you're seeking full physical custody, you need to be able to tell the judge who will be caring for the child when you are at work.
  • Make it clear that you are open to working with the child's mother on custody in the future. In essence, always be kind and remember that your child's mother is important. While you have to tell the judge why you currently think she's unfit to parent, it doesn't hurt to make sure that the judge knows you are open to having her visit, want her to maintain a connection with the child you share and even eventually pull it together enough to have shared custody again.

For more information on how you can win full custody of your child when the other parent is really unfit, talk to an attorney today. Don't let the fact that you're the father, not the mother, make you assume you don't have a chance.

Source:, "Child Custody Tips & Common Pitfalls for Fathers," accessed Sep. 20, 2017

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