Tag: 50/50

My children’s father is a bum. Can he get 50/50 custody awarded?

The question is: I’m a stay at home mom, my BD is always working unreliable and inconsistent hours, he wants 50% custody of our son. Will he be granted 50%? His hours always vary from 4pm 7pm 9pm even 2am at times. 

Understand this: it’s not a matter of what you know to be the facts, it’s whether 1) you can prove the facts; and 2) persuade the court that these facts warrant or require that the court rule in your favor and as you want. 

The court cannot know what you know unless you can prove it to the court itself or persuade the court to believe what you say is true.  

Now if the father’s work schedule is not conducive to an equal physical custody schedule and you can prove that, the court will likely rule against a joint physical custody award. If you believe that all you have to do is tell the court, essentially, “The father’s work schedule is not conducive to an equal custody award,” your odds of succeeding on this issue are slim.* 

*But because you are the woman, there is an inexcusable possibility that the court might purport to find as a matter of “fact” that what you say is true—not because you proved it (you obviously didn’t prove it objectively or by a preponderance of the evidence) but because the court simply does not want to award equal custody, does not intend to award equal physical custody, and will look for any hooks upon which to hang that hat.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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How hard did you have to fight to get custody of your child after divorce as a father? What was the biggest problem you faced?

Allow me to start this answer by clearing the air a bit:

First, there are many fathers who are clearly unfit fathers but who nonetheless believe the only or the “real” reason they are denied sole or even joint custody is because of unchecked corruption and/or sexual discrimination in the legal system. Such fathers are deluded but get a lot of attention, compensating for their lack of credibility by being extraordinarily vocal.

That stated, no intellectually honest legal professional can deny that there is a bias against fathers when it comes to the child custody and parent time award. The evidence is overwhelming.

That stated, the discrimination against fathers in child custody award cases is slowly but surely being remedied. That, however, is cold comfort to fathers who are suffering current bias and discrimination.

I exaggerate only slightly when I state that in child custody disputes mothers are more or less presumes to be not only fit parents, but superior parents to fathers. The child custody fight is the mother’s fight to lose. Fathers, on the other hand, are often presumed to be uncaring, unprincipled, and thus unfit to exercise custody of their children, pegged as seeking sole or joint custody only for the purpose of avoiding or reducing their child support obligations.

Like the proverbial minority (whether that be a racial or sexual minority) who has to be 10 times better than the majority candidates just to get a seat at the table (whether that be in business or athletics or politics or any other worldly endeavor), fathers confront a lopsided double standard in child custody disputes.

SOP (standard operating procedure) in a child custody dispute consists of a mother asserting herself to be that only fit to exercise custody of the children, but the only parent fit to exercise custody, followed by the court accepting that assertion and then burdening the father with rebutting it if he is to have any chance at obtaining sole or even joint custody of his children. It simply not enough for the father to demonstrate that he is and always has been a law-abiding and otherwise responsible person (and parent) of good character.

Perversely, fathers must demonstrate that they are super parents (that anything Mom can do I can do just as well or better) before they will be treated as worthy of the custody of their children. But even if a father meets this impossible standard, he’s written off as a liar, and egotist, or both.

Never mind that the social science overwhelmingly proves that children do best when reared by a mother and a father, and that exposure to and experience with the differences between one’s mother and a father are one of the material reasons why a child develops to his or her fullest potential.

No, in the family law realm fathers are second-class parents. Like a limited use spare tire. Better

than nothing, but clearly not on par with mothers when it comes to parental value and importance. This is why so many court still inexplicably believe (or say they believe) that children need to be reared primarily by their mothers and that fathers can fulfill their parental obligation sufficiently by visiting with their children a few hours a week, every other weekend, and every other major holiday.

Consequently, fathers are marginalized in their children’s lives. Children—having no understanding of why they see so little of Dad now—feel rejected. Both fathers and children drift apart both physically and emotionally as a consequence. It is as pointless as it is heartbreaking.

So how hard do fathers have to fight for solar physical custody of their children? For far too many fathers, it’s a trick question. In many jurisdictions, it doesn’t matter how hard a father fights and how much proof he presents. He can’t win. More accurately, the culture of the legal system predestines him to lose.

If you are a father and you don’t want to be marginalized or erased by your child custody court proceedings, you may very well have to spend every last penny you have hiring the best lawyer(s) (yes, you may need more than one) and experts in an effort to build and present a case so strong that it is impossible to refute. I am not exaggerating. Even then, that may not be enough.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

The child certainly can be like the child (Andrea) from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid,” if under a shared parenting arrangement 1) the child divides his/her time living with both the father and mother and 2) each parent wants the child to live only with him/her and tries to persuade the child to do so.

But shared custody (also known as joint custody or—when the child spends equal time with both parents—joint equal or 50/50 custody) does not inexorably condemn the child to have a “Suitcase Kid” experience, as long as the parents place the happiness and mental and emotional health of the child above the parents’ respective self-interest. Treat your child the way you would want to be treated, were you in the child’s shoes!

It’s not popular these days to state what we all know: the best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to rear that child in a family in which that parent is married happily to the child’s other parent. Short of that, the next best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to ensure the child is reared as much as possible by both parents. Children of fit parents love both parents and want to be loved and cared for by both parents as much as possible (duh). Do it for them! They deserve it. It’s the least that divorced or separated parents can do for their children.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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For divorced parents: why isn’t your custody award 50/50?

For divorced parents: why isn’t your custody award 50/50?

Concisely (and in no particular order):

  1. sometimes a parent’s job, physical or mental/emotional disabilities, misconduct (like domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse), poverty, or distance from the other parent’s residence prevents him or her from exercising joint equal (50/50) custody, even though the parent is otherwise a loving, caring, and fit parent.
    • sometimes a child is nursing and thus the exercise of joint equal custody is a practicable impossibility.
  2. sometimes a parent who could exercise 50/50 custody may not want to exercise joint equal (50/50) custody. It’s rare, but it happens.
  3. sometimes a parent could exercise 50/50 custody, but the children vehemently and rebelliously oppose it. It’s rare, but it happens.
  4. sometimes, even though the parent wants it and is worthy of 50/50 custody, the other spouse and co-parent is evil and does everything in his or her power to depict that parent as unworthy of joint equal (50/50) custody in a campaign to ensure that 50/50 custody is not awarded. This doesn’t happen all the time, but happens quite frequently (more than most people would imagine).
    • sometimes, when a parent is dealing with a malicious parent, even 50/50 custody could be awarded, the innocent parent agrees to less than 50/50 to spare the children and/or the innocent future haranguing over and sabotage of the custody award. Some parents make it abundantly clear that if 50/50 custody is awarded that he/she will make everyone from the parent to the children to the court regret it.
  5. sadly, some courts believe that 50/50 cannot work, that 50/50 causes or exacerbates inter-parental disputes to the detriment of the children, and so the court awards less than 50/50 custody believing (too often falsely believing) that less than 50/50 is for the benefit of the children. Actually, the science shows just the opposite to be true, that 50/50 custody has the effect of reducing the amount and severity of inter-parental conflict.
  6. sometimes, even though a father wants and is worthy of 50/50 custody, the judge has a bias against awarding it. For some judges it’s a belief that men simply should not or cannot be entrusted with 50/50 custody, that “the only reason the father wants 50/50 custody is because it reduces his child support obligation,” that women are “born nurturers,” or that the children, though not infants, are still too young to spend time equally in the care and custody of both parents. Some judges take the position that if the mother has been, up to the point of separation and divorce, the children’s “primary caregiver” that she must remain their primary caregiver, even though the divorce will necessitate that she get a job and no longer function as primary caregiver.
    • Although men/fathers are being treated better when they seek 50/50 custody than ever before, there is still obvious discrimination generally against fathers who can clearly exercise and who and want and who seek 50/50 custody.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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What are the odds of a ballot measure for 50/50 custody?

What are the chances of a ballot measure in CA for a rebuttable presumption that child custody should be 50/50 if both parents wish at least 50%?


This isn’t important to enough people to get it on the ballot, and even if it were, the culture isn’t ready to make a presumption of 50/50 custody law.

The day when the presumption will be 50/50 is coming, but not right now.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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