Why fathers can be at a disadvantage when it comes to custody

Society has come a long way toward giving fathers more access to their children, but a few factors can hold some men back from goals such as joint custody.

Many fathers who seek joint custody in Texas get it. However, others might not due to some built-in social disadvantages. While society has come a long way in recognizing the valuable role two parents play in a child's life, there is still work to be done.

Honest belief that they are a worse parent than the children's mother

Quite a few mothers are overprotective of their children. Most of the time, this overprotectiveness pays off, as the world is full of dangers that can harm a child who has not learned yet to navigate it. However, a tendency to overprotectiveness can backfire when it causes a mother to diminish the father's role in their child's life.

For example, the mother might, from the beginning, criticize how her partner changes the baby's diaper, feeds the baby, plays with the baby, picks clothes for the baby and so on. If the baby is being breastfed, the mother might also decline to give the father any opportunities to bottle feed the child.

A mere few months can be enough for a father to internalize the message that the mother's way of doing things is superior and that he just is not that fit of a parent. Alternatively, a father who has been prevented from a hands-on role in the child's life may not be sure that he is fit to parent actively.

So, when it comes time to discuss custody matters, the father might quickly agree that the mother should have primary custody. In the long term, this is likely to hurt the child. Research shows that children benefit when both parents are as involved in their lives as possible.

Employment opportunities

There is also the fact that men have historically had more employment opportunities open to them. Men often make more money than women do, and while many men voluntarily choose to be stay-at-home fathers, their numbers dwarf next to the number of women who make a similar choice.

The bottom line is that, in many families, it is the father who is expected to work longer hours and to sacrifice his time with the children in the service of bringing money home to support the entire family. This can hurt fathers in custody cases if they are perceived as being relatively uninvolved in their children's lives, especially in comparison with a "stay-at-home" mother.

Leaving the home without the children

When a wife forces a husband out of the house, he often goes without making a fuss. Maybe it is to spare the kids ugly scenes, or he knows that space between the spouses is best during divorce, or he too is looking forward to the joy of divorce emancipation. However, a judge might see the father's leaving as a sign that he is not overly committed to his children.

Not all hope is lost for fathers who work hard to provide for their families and who harbor internalized doubts about whether they are a good parent. In fact, these fathers may stand a good chance of getting joint custody/meeting their custody goals if they meet with a lawyer as early as possible.