New York fathers who are going through a divorce may despair when it comes time for child custody battles, as courts have traditionally ruled in favor of the mother unless extenuating circumstances present themselves or if the mother is declared to be unfit for parenthood. However, they may be heartened to learn about a new breed of law firm that has proliferated around the country in recent years in hopes of helping fathers acquire child custody in the event of divorce.
These firms make no secret of their specialties, and many list on their websites that they only work with men. Proponents of the firms argue that they are helping to push courts to adjust rulings to accommodate the gradual dismantling of gender stereotypes. Men are seeing more women get paid equally in the office, and more women are earning money to support their families. However, the courts largely still operate on assumptions that the mother is necessarily the most involved parent in a child's day-to-day life.
One lawyer who represents slightly more men than women says that she will ask a client, regardless of gender, how much time he or she spends with the child. She checks to see if they have taken the child to appointments and after school activities, helped with homework, and otherwise been an active and consistent participant. For many lawyers, it's important to battle the bias towards fathers that the court has shown, but it's most important to make sure children end up with the parent who has had the most involvement and interest.
In many cases, involved fathers can present a valid case for joint or full custody of their children. Fathers who are facing divorce may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney.
Source: USA Today , "More dads demand equal custody rights", Sharon Jayson, June 14, 2014