If you are divorcing or living apart from your wife or co-parent, you are probably concerned about maintaining your relationship with your children. A Junction City father’s rights lawyer understands your concern and will do everything possible to ensure you can continue to be an active parent.
In the past, the law favored awarding custody to the mother, especially if the children were young. The law is now gender-neutral, and a father’s rights to custody are the same as the mothers. A dedicated family attorney could help make your case to continue playing a substantial role in your children’s lives.
Common Parenting Arrangements
Kansas recognizes two forms of custody—physical or residential custody and legal custody. Residential custody refers to where the children live most of the time. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority on fundamental issues such as religion, education, and healthcare.
The courts favor awarding joint legal custody so that both parents continue to have a role in making big decisions for the child. Joint physical custody, in which children split their time equally or near-equally between both parents, is also possible if the parents’ circumstances allow it. In other cases, one parent will be the residential parent, and the other will have reasonable visitation—usually called parenting time.
Arrangements that give only one parent legal and physical custody are rare, and usually involve substantiated safety concerns such as violence, substance misuse, or criminal activity. Shared parenting is the norm, allowing children to spend substantial time with both parents. A diligent Junction City father’s rights attorney will discover a father’s goals as a parent and strive to accomplish them.
Identifying the Children’s Best Interests
When judges decide custody disputes, they seek a solution that supports the children’s best interests. The parents’ wishes or best interests are secondary to the child’s.
Kansas Statute §23-3203 requires judges to consider multiple factors when deciding the children’s best interests. In many cases, they appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to investigate and report to the court about what decision reflects the child’s best interests in their opinion. Judges attach considerable weight to the GAL’s judgment, so it is critical that a father cooperate with their investigation.
The GAL may want to tour the home, meet all household members, and might talk to neighbors, teachers, and extended family, as well as the children. A committed father’s rights lawyer in Junction City could ensure a father knows what to expect from the GAL and provide guidance throughout the investigation.
Overcoming a Difficult History
Sometimes fathers are concerned that an event in the past—such as a history of alcohol abuse or a documented domestic violence incident—will destroy their chances of custody. The law requires the judge to consider these issues, but the judge is most interested in how the father is doing now.
A skilled legal professional in Junction City could help a father demonstrate that any blots on their record are history. The judge must consider whether the father is in recovery for substance abuse, receiving mental health care, or has completed batterer’s intervention or parenting classes.
If a judge has concerns that a safety issue like violence or substance abuse remains an issue, they will likely order a period of supervised visitation with the children. These orders are temporary. If visits go well, a father could petition the court to withdraw the supervision.
Contact a Junction City Father’s Rights Attorney About Asserting Your Rights
The prospect of losing your close relationship with your children could be terrifying, but the law does not discriminate. If you have been an engaged and involved parent in the past, you have as much right as the children’s mother to residential custody or generous parenting time.
A Junction City father’s rights lawyer understands how important your relationship with your children is to you and to them. Call today to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney.