Fathers rights and roles have changed on Long Island and this impacts child custody and visitation responsibilities. As a Long Island family law attorney, I see that many Long Island fathers face difficulty when attempting to maintain meaningful relationships with their children once a divorce or separation occurs.
In the past, it seems that many custody battles in New York were often resolved in favor of the mother. This was due to what is known as the “maternal preference,” which commonly resulted in mothers having physical custody and parental authority over their children, while fathers often received only a visitation schedule.
Fathers Rights in Suffolk County & Nassau County, Long Island Courtrooms
However, this gender-based preference was eventually determined to violate fathers constitutional rights. By law, fathers rights to child custody and visitation, should be equal to mothers rights. Courts now consider a variety of factors before ruling on custody and visitation, and decide these cases primarily based on the best interests of the children. In many cases, this allows fathers to maintain active roles in their children’s lives by obtaining joint legal or physical custody, or even full custody of their children.
Today’s Long Island Households Are More Equal & So Are Custody Cases
While there is no longer a statutory maternal preference, it is true that custody disputes still typically favor the mother when all of the other variables are equal. However, the changing roles of fathers have interrupted the trend of positive outcomes for mothers only. In fact, many households today are more egalitarian, with parents sharing equal roles in taking care of the children. Fathers are no longer considered the sole breadwinners of the family. To the contrary, sometimes it is the mother who has taken on this role. When parents share responsibility for the children equally, or when children are cared for mostly by their father, these factors are considered heavily by the court.
Fathers Can Be Awarded Full Custody of their Children on Long Island
The outcome of custody disputes primarily depends upon the unique facts and circumstances of each case. Both fathers and mothers make unique contributions to childhood development, and every family is different. In many situations, fathers rights enable them to be awarded joint or full custody of their children.
Fathers Rights Protected by Law in Suffolk & Nassau, Long Island, NY
Fathers rights are now increasingly protected by the law and by competent attorney representation that can effectively advocate fathers’ rights before the court. For this reason, it is important that fathers in Suffolk County and Nassau County engage an experienced Long Island family law attorney that is skilled in the area of fathers’ rights.
Fathers’ Prior & Current Actions Considered by Family Law Courts in Suffolk & Nassau
Fathers who are more active and positive in their children’s lives are the ones most likely to obtain joint custody and the increased visitation that they desire. It is very important for fathers to remember that putting forth their best effort to care for their children’s emotional and financial needs will demonstrate to courts that their desire to be with their children is genuine. This means that, if you are a father seeking full custody, it is important that you are careful not to let feelings of anger or resentment toward your former spouse influence your interactions with your children or your behavior in court. If you are requesting custody or visitation out of spite or to hurt the other parent, this will be easily transparent to the court, and you will likely be unsuccessful. However, if your requests and actions are genuine, and you are able to portray yourself as a positive role model for your child or children, it is more likely you will find an outcome in your favor. Do your best to follow court orders, comply with child support payments, and show respect and responsibility in the process.
Divorce Mediation Can Help Protect Fathers Rights
Fathers are encouraged to participate in divorce meditation and work toward an agreement or settlement that will be in the best interests of the family as a whole. A certain degree of cooperation and compromise is often necessary, and saves both parents and children a great deal of emotional and financial distress. While this is certainly important and some compromise may go a long way, fathers still should never compromise on their right to be involved in their children’s lives.
Protect Your Fathers Rights, Contact an Experienced Long Island Family Law Attorney
Whether you are looking to move forward as a single parent, looking to change your child custody arrangement, or seeking a modification to a court order, the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. can assist you in protecting your rights and achieving your desired result. If you are a Nassau County or Suffolk County resident, or if you live in one of the five boroughs of New York City, contact our experienced family law attorneys today for a free consultation.
Download our Free New York Divorce Guide
Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.