Can fathers get sole child custody?

| Jul 19, 2021 | Family Law

Although every family in Indiana is different, dads tend to be more active in their children’s lives than ever before. This is not always reflected in child custody agreements though. Divorcing dads often face an uphill battle when it comes to getting what they believe is a fair share of parenting time. 

This can feel disheartening, but the good news is that dads have the same rights as moms. Many judges now recognize just how important it is for kids to still have their dads in their lives after a divorce. If you are seeking joint or even full custody of your child, you should be prepared to demonstrate that this arrangement is in his or her best interest. 

The different types of child custody 

Child custody is broken up into two categories — legal and physical. A parent with legal custody has the right to make important decisions about things like education and health care on behalf of a child. A parent with physical custody is the parent who actually lives with and regularly cares for the child. 

There are a few different ways legal and physical custody can be combined. For example, you and your ex could both share equal legal and physical custody in a joint custody arrangement. You could also maintain sole physical custody while sharing legal custody. Depending on your child’s needs, you might even have sole physical and legal custody. 

Can fathers get sole custody? 

Yes, fathers can sometimes get sole custody of their children. However, there are a lot of factors at play, and many judges might feel hesitant about awarding either parent sole custody. Some things that might factor into your chances of getting sole custody include: 

  • Whether you were the primary parent before the divorce 
  • You and your ex’s physical and mental health 
  • Your child’s current living arrangements 

There is a lot that comes with sole custody. A judge may consider whether you can be there for your child before school or with him or her for dinner at night. Your childcare arrangements are also important, so you may to go ahead and line up options to show that you are prepared. 

Stay as involved as possible 

It can be easy to let your child’s mother take over most of the child rearing tasks or to pull back when your teen child pushes you away. However, when it comes to getting custody, you need to be able to demonstrate that you are an active and involved father. This can be hard when you are already dealing with the emotional aspect of divorce, but it is worth it in the long run.