When it comes to custody battles, many men feel there is a societal gender bias against them from the start. Whether this is true or not, it can affect not only how a father responds to a judge’s decision concerning custody, but also their resolve to fight for what they want.
Fortunately, in Ohio there is a strong emphasis on co-parenting for minor children when appropriate, and where the parents have been married the courts will more often grant joint legal custody to both. However, the courts here will also award sole custody to the mother when the parents are not married.
The diminishing role of the father after divorce
According to a study done several years ago, mothers typically spend twice the time that fathers do participating with their children in primary childcare activities during a marriage. With two-income households being the norm, this means that mothers not only work harder, but will more naturally bond more closely with the children in their formative years.
After divorce, however, only 22% of fathers see the children more than once a week, roughly a third of them see the kids one to four times per month, and nearly a third have no contact with the children at all. In 51% of cases, the decision to give the mother custody was decided by both parents, not the judge.
Also, because fathers tend to view themselves as the breadwinners of the family even when both parents work, it can make them less likely to fight for full or equal custody after divorce.
Deciding not to give up
Ultimately, custody decisions are decided by what is in the best interests of the child, not the gender of the divorcing parents. Under Ohio laws, parents must submit a parenting plan for review by the court which outlines how they plan to cooperatively provide for and raise their children. The court will consider:
- each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional well-being
- each parent’s ability to cooperatively raise the child as well as to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
- the child’s wishes, if of age, as well as their ability to adjust to community, home or school
- any evidence of a parent’s domestic violence, neglect or substance addiction
The bottom line is, if a father wishes to keep his relationship with his kids and is willing to fight for it, he should also seek a family law attorney who will go to bat for him. There is fair and effective legal counsel serving Ravenna and northeast Ohio available to assist with custody disputes and visitation rights.