Fathers have rights.
Back in the early days of North Carolina's custody law, when parents were separated or divorced, sole custody usually went to the mother. That left the father on the hook to pay child support, provide health insurance, and hope for visitation rights. We've come a long way since then! And modern dads have more rights than ever when it comes to child custody.
However, with this modern outlook, come new risks and new responsibilities. Here, I'll talk about best practices dads can implement when preparing for a child custody case. As always, if you have questions beyond this article's scope, contact us for a case evaluation.
Tips for Dads Who are Preparing for a Child Custody Case
Keep Your Cool
You have a right to care for your child, just as much as his or her other parent. It's essential that you behave respectfully towards police officers, the courts and court officials, and avoid getting into trouble. I know these times are incredibly challenging. You're riding on an emotional roller coaster! Still, you must maintain your calm, even if the other parent seems to be taunting you or pushing you towards bad behavior.
During a child custody case, it's common for the other side to encourage you to act irresponsibly. Please don't fall for it! Your behavior during these proceedings is very important. Be sure to:
- Drive safely and ensure your child has the proper child seat or seatbelt for their age.
- Monitor your social media. This would be the wrong time for someone to post pictures that suggest you behave irresponsibly.
- Appear — on time and sober — for any visitations, hearings or while handing over your kids to the other parent for their turn.
No matter how upset you are about your child custody situation, these behaviors will go a long way towards proving you're the respectable parent this child needs.
Gather Your Paperwork
Child custody cases in North Carolina are not subject to the emotional whims of a judge. Instead, the court is a place of evidence and proof, and if a parent is acting accusatory, they have a burden of proof.
In other words, if your ex starts flinging accusations, they need to have proof to back it up. Getting a DUI right now, or speeding with a baby in the vehicle would give them that proof.
Likewise, dads can't merely accuse their ex of drug use or child abuse without the paperwork to back it up. Furthermore, if there is going to be a decision made about child support, you'll need to be able to prove your income and that of the other parent.
Start looking for these documents:
- Paystubs that prove your earnings, and those of your ex
- Tax records
- DMV paperwork - the title of cars, proof of ownership or proof of debt
- Any official paperwork: police reports, medical bills and the like
You want to be prepared to counter any accusation with paperwork that proves you are a reliable parent. If your ex says "He's a drunk and got a DUI." You want to be able to answer with "That was ten years ago, I paid my fines and did my community service back when it happened here's the proof" and provide the paperwork to back it up.
Know When to Seek Professional Legal Help
Child custody cases in North Carolina are rarely simple. Families are so important to us, and child custody issues like child support quickly become emotionally charged situations. It's in your best interest to know when to seek professional legal counsel.
If you need to learn more about child custody, visitation, child support and parental rights in Charlotte or Mint Hill, call us at 704-275-3505 now or contact us online to schedule a case evaluation.