Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. – Wade Boggs
It shouldn’t be so hard to be a dad: to be in your child’s life, to be there to cheer at the ball games, to stand up and clap at the school play, to have tears of pride at the college graduation. But sometimes it is hard. As a father, seeking custody of your child can often seem impossible.
Attorney Kim Lengert knows how special a dad is because of her relationship with her own father. Whether it be memories of the two of them fishing, working on an old car or even mowing the lawn, the time spent together with her dad has shaped her into the person she has become.
Attorney Kim Lengert believes every child should have that same opportunity. But not everyone sees it the same way.
The Old Way Was Not the Right Way for Dads’ Custody
It is not to long ago that the Tender Years Doctrine governed the courts leanings in awarding custody of very young children primarily to mothers. Although the higher courts have held that the doctrine is no longer valid, similar arguments are still made to limit fathers’ physical custody.
Types of Child Custody
Physical custody governs the right to physically have the child at any given time or place. Physical Custody has five basic forms:
Sole Physical Custody means that only one person – either father, mother, or another person – has the authority to make decisions of being with the child.
With Primary Physical Custody, the child resides with a person who has primary authority regarding the physical presence of the child.
In Partial Physical Custody one person or couple has specific times that the child is in their presence, while the child resides with the Primary custodian.
Equal time with the child is found in Shared Physical Custody.
Lastly, when an order for Supervised Physical Custody is given, the person may only be in the presence of the child with another adult who oversees the contact with the child.
Physical and Legal Custody
Physical Custody is affected by issues ranging from having proper housing for the minor child (for example, a proper sleeping area) to the perception of harm to the child (threats or exposure to unsafe conditions).
Although Physical Custody may be limited, a father may still have Shared Legal Custody. Legal Custody is the right to make decisions concerning a child’s academics, health, religion, sports, or any thing else that affects the child’s well being. Legal Custody is either Sole (meaning only one person or couple have the right to make decisions that affect the child) or Shared (meaning that more than one person have equal authority and must work together to make decisions that affect the child).
Unawareness of the rights granted by Shared Legal Custody – and thus the failure to use them – are often a cause of future limitations upon a father’s Physical Custody of his child.
Dads – Contact Kim Lengert to Learn About Your Rights!
Knowing what is available under the law enables a father to be a dad, to be actively present in your child’s life, to make memories for the future. Attorney Kim Lengert has spent years working with fathers to help them be dads. Contact Kim to see how she can help you.