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3 tips for fathers during Pennsylvania custody proceedings

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Child Support

Custody disagreements can develop because someone files for divorce or because unmarried parents decide that they can no longer live together. Despite their changing relationship, because they share children, parents generally have to commit to regular interactions with one another.

Fathers in Pennsylvania often worry that they will be at a disadvantage during custody proceedings and that they won’t be able to preserve their bond with their children. The three tips below can prove invaluable for men anticipating custody disagreements in their near future.

Learn Pennsylvania state law

Misinformation plays a big role in men not making use of their parental rights. A surprising number of men wrongfully believe that women receive preferential treatment in the Pennsylvania family court system. However, those who are familiar with the state statutes will quickly learn that rules are neutral and do not give women or mothers preference over men or fathers. All parents theoretically have the same right and responsibilities, provided that they know and make use of those rights.

Focus on what is best for the children

The main consideration anytime a judge has to make a decision about custody matters in Pennsylvania is what would be best for the children. Fathers seeking as much time as possible with their children should frame their attempts in the context of what the children need rather than their own wishes and preferences.

Try to keep conflict to a minimum

When subject to a temporary order pending either negotiations or litigation, it will generally be in the best interests of a father to do whatever is necessary to cooperate with the other parent. Judges often prefer to see parents who work together as opposed to parents who fight constantly with each other and put the children in the middle. After all, the focus is on what is best for the children, and conflict tends to be the most damaging element in custody matters or divorces. Judges who see parents that are willing to cooperate with one another and communicate effectively with their co-parents are more likely to embrace evenly divided parenting time and to view the parents in a positive light because they put the children’s needs ahead of their own wishes.

If a father who is seeking custody is unmarried, he may have to take a few extra steps to make use of his parental rights, including filling out paperwork with the mother or asking the courts for genetic testing to affirm his relationship with his child. Provided that men follow these tips, they will be in the best position possible to seek favorable custody outcomes. Getting the right support can also play a major role in the resolution of custody conflicts in Pennsylvania.