In the 1980s and 90s, a common theme was prominent in TV sitcoms and mainstream media in general. This theme centrally focused on a disparaging view of men, and, more specifically, of men who are fathers. Such themes not only painted a picture of deadbeat, lazy dads throughout the country, but they also sparked misguided notions about the family justice system in Louisiana and the rest of America, and in particular, child custody issues.
If you are a Louisiana dad who has filed for divorce, it does not mean that you wish to abdicate your responsibilities or rights as a father. The idea that most men ditch their wives for younger women and try to escape their obligation to pay child support or provide care for their children is not only insulting to men, but also false information. It is important to separate myths from facts, especially if you’re a dad who will soon be attending child custody proceedings.
Louisiana judges do not automatically grant child custody to mothers
One of the biggest myths still circulating today is the idea that dads automatically get the short end of the stick in child custody proceedings. Many people mistakenly believe that a family court judge will always grant custody to a mother over a father. This is simply not true.
If you believe the court could best serve your children’s interests by placing them in your custody following a divorce, you can file a motion to request it in court. As in all custody cases, you will make a more positive impression on the judge if you dress appropriately and conduct yourself in a professional, confident and respectful manner.
Being a dad doesn’t make you less capable than your ex of caring for your kids
Another myth regarding child custody and dads is that mothers are, by nature, better parents than fathers. While most households long ago included mothers who stayed home full-time to raise their families and dads who became the sole wage earners, there are many homes in Louisiana and elsewhere today where these roles are in reverse. As a dad, you can provide for the needs of your children just as their mother can.
Women never pay child support — another myth
Perhaps you’ve already been a stay-at-home dad who has been out of the workforce for a long time while your spouse earned the income that provided for your family. Since deciding to file for divorce, you might have heard that you cannot request child support since you are a father. This is another myth that is untrue.
A Louisiana family court judge considers numerous factors when deciding whether one or the other parent will pay child support as part of a divorce settlement. Gender has nothing to do with it. If you’re unsure about your parental rights or child custody laws, it’s wise to seek guidance before heading to court so that you can make sure you receive a fair settlement and custody agreement.