When a couple with children divorces, the most emotionally wrenching part of the process is likely to be the custody battle. Many mothers assume that they should raise the children, and society tends to agree. But in many cases, that just is not true.
Fathers are extremely important in the lives of children, even in the earliest stages of childhood, and a father’s influence extends into the school years and beyond. Boys with engaged fathers learn language better and display less aggressive behavior in class. Older girls with involved dads are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. If you are a father facing divorce, do not assume you will — or should — lose custody of your kids.
Types of custody
Legal custody involves the right of parents to make decisions regarding their child. Physical custody refers to the physical presence of the child in a home. A judge may award sole or joint custody as dictated by the best interests of the child. In Georgia, the law states that the judge should make a custody determination based not on the sex of each parent, but on several specific gender-neutral factors.
Emotional needs of the children
The statute addresses the “love, affection, bonding and emotional ties” in the parent-child relationship and among siblings. It also mentions the parent’s familiarity with each child’s needs. Know the names of your children’s teachers and friends, attend parent-teacher conferences, coach their teams, be able to list their allergies. Show that you have participated in your child’s education, daily life and social activities.
Physical needs of the children
Other aspects of the law concern providing for the children’s physical needs like a safe, stable home environment. Such needs also include basic food, clothing, medical care and material needs. You can really shine in this arena if you have been financially supporting the household. A judge may take into account your work schedule, community resources and support system. As long as you have no obvious strikes against you, such as a history of violence or substance abuse, you should not have to give up custody of your children.