Gender bias is a common reality for women throughout the United States. One place, though, where men face significant gender bias is in family court.
The idea of equal protection for fathers has gradually entered into the public consciousness, but challenges still exist.
A child’s interests are best served when both parents are positively active in the child’s life. Courts have slowly come to recognize this, but fathers often need strong legal advocacy to protect their own rights and the best interests of their children.
(For more on a father’s influence, please see our previous post, “Fathers Play a Crucial Role in the Development of Their Children.”)
What every father should avoid is making rash decisions or failing to take the proper legal steps to achieve a positive outcome. Divorce is an extremely difficult time, and the stress can cause a person to make decisions that negatively affect child custody and other matters.
If you are a father going through divorce, seek legal counsel from an experienced family law attorney who understands the issues — and who is a strong advocate for fathers’ rights.
Unfortunately, some child custody arrangements place heavy limitations on a father’s right to be with his child, or the support arrangement is simply unrealistic.
Family courts make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. It is therefore important for a father to take the necessary legal steps to show the court how he can play a positive role in his child’s life. Having an experienced fathers’ rights lawyer on your side is an effective way of going about this.
Additionally, fathers need to be aware of how child support will be calculated.
Unless a separate arrangement has been reached by the parents outside of court, the child support will be calculated based on the combined incomes of both parents. Then each parent is responsible for providing a percentage of support that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined incomes.
These matters are not always simple to determine, and every circumstance should be assessed individually.
Specific legal steps are required to modify a child custody or support order. In any case, fathers should avoid contempt of court.
By having a fathers’ rights lawyer on your side every step of the way, you can avoid negative outcomes that might result from procedural mistakes or missed hearings.
Specifically, what you want to avoid — for your own well-being and that of your child — is being stuck with an unfeasible child support obligation, or being found in contempt of court for non-payment.
Understand, too, that a petition is required to modify a child custody or support order.
For more on fathers’ rights in Louisiana, please see our fathers’ rights overview.