Divorced dads have a relatively more comfortable time getting custody of their children compared to previous decades, as courts now prefer both parents to remain involved in their kids’ lives as much as possible.
Joint custody for children seemed very unlikely before the 1970s, as mothers had full custody of their sons and daughters for 80% of the time. However, several factors led to a significant change not only instigated by the need for a child to be with their divorced parents. In recent years, more women have been juggling time between their jobs and parental duties, so it makes sense that their ex-spouses help out in raising their kids.
How the Court Grants Custody
By 2008, a study claimed that courts only granted full custody to divorced mothers for 42% of the time. The rate of equal and unequal custody also increased to 27% and 18% respectively, from being a single-digit rate during the 1980s. If you were married in New York, the state would consider your child’s best interest when contemplating the better choice between sole and shared custody. It’s essential to have legal representation for staking your claim as a father even when the odds are in favor of your spouse.
This is going to be expensive, especially for complicated cases, but there are ways to save money. Consider hiring a lawyer from suburban areas like in Nassau County. A divorce attorney in these places will likely charge a lower fee for their services, but you should still expect to spend a bit more when your cases take longer than usual to complete.
Another way for a court to determine custody involves asking the child about their opinion, either directly or through a professional evaluator. When your child is at least 12 years old, this can be an option for a more straightforward trial.
Declaring Dependents on Income Taxes
Another critical reason why divorced parents disagree over child custody issues involves the benefits of having dependents on their taxable income. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated a $4,000 tax exemption per dependent until 2025, but parents can still benefit from declaring a minor in your tax documents.
The IRS defines a “qualifying child” as dependents who are related to the taxpayer, below 19 years old at the end of the tax year and should not be supporting themselves financially during the same period. Dependents also should be living with the adult for more than six months of the year, which is one reason why divorced parents argue over the amount of time that they can stay with their child. Mothers fight for sole custody because they are usually the lower-income earners and having tax benefits for raising their child will be a huge help.
While judges have recognized the importance of a father’s role in the upbringing of a child, it doesn’t mean that your chances are higher for winning full custody. Mothers remain the default custodian unless you can prove that they are an unfit parent, which is challenging to do without the help of a lawyer.