It’s all but stereotypical to assume that a divorced father will be automatically awarded less than 50% of custody and forced to pay what he believes is an unreasonable child support payment. Yet many men feel exactly that way. However, many divorced Arizona women also complain that the court is unfair in its determinations. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this seeming contradiction is to understand how the system works and, even more importantly, consider what doesn’t work.
While the overriding consideration in custody determinations is the child’s best interests, a seminal issue the court will look to is an agreement, or lack thereof, between the parents. If one exists and it’s reasonable, the court will likely approve it. If none exists, the parents will then make their case for custody arrangements based on their individual assessments of the ‘best interests” of their child. However, both legal and family analysts emphasize some fundamental dos and don’ts when making a case for custody.
It’s considered best for children to have a strong, loving relationship with both parents. Therefore, each parent should be respectful of each other. If difficulties arise over the ability to make the child support payments ordered, go back to court and see if the award can be changed. The noncustodial parent ordered to pay shouldn’t simply just stop paying. Furthermore, the custodial parent shouldn’t withhold visitation due to support payment issues.
Fathers’ rights can be even more of an issue if the parents were not married or if the father has not been present in the child’s life from the beginning. An experienced family law attorney can offer counsel and advice on parents’ rights and responsibilities.