While the child custody courts in the state of Pennsylvania seek to be unbiased, certain situations can make it more difficult for fathers to gain custody of their children. This is especially true when it comes to establishing paternity.
When a couple is married when they have a child, the paternity is automatically assigned to the husband. Therefore, if they do go through a divorce in the future, the father will easily be able to file for custody since paternity will have already been established. However, when it comes to the acknowledgment of the father’s paternity when he is not married to the mother of the child, the mother has to acknowledge it voluntarily. When this does not happen, the father must try to establish it through other means, such as through a DNA test, before he can proceed with filing for custody. The following is some advice for fathers who want to file for custody after they have established paternity.
Communicate with the mother to establish a parenting plan
Before taking legal action, it is a good idea to communicate with the mother to figure out what both of your parental expectations are. You may be able to reach accord between the two of you. It could include looking at both of your schedules and considering what visitation times would be appropriate and how you might be able to share responsibilities.
Prove to the courts that you are a good parent
Judges analyze fathers’ abilities to provide loving and stable homes for their children. If you are filing for sole custody, you will need to prove that you have a strong relationship with your child and that there are good reasons why the mother should not share custody. Obtaining joint custody is much easier since the courts believe that all children have the right to relationships with both of their parents unless it is not in their best interests.
If you are struggling to gain custody of your child as a Pennsylvania father, it is important to take action, understand the law and stand up for your rights as a parent.