Societal expectations being what they are, mothers are often automatically assigned the “caretaker and nurturer” role in a marriage. “Good” dads are generously praised for “babysitting” the kids or “helping” with the housework as if they were somehow going above and beyond the call of parental duty.
That can be frustrating for moms, to be sure. However, the flip side of the coin is that some view dads are too lazy or too incompetent to regularly manage a houseful of kids — and that can hurt in a custody battle.
In reality, dads often do as much as moms when it comes to taking care of the house and the kids. When they split up, custody orders should reflect that.
How do you show you’re a capable, involved parent?
Unfortunately, while society is making progress, it’s far from egalitarian — and judges are human beings with human biases. To ensure that you get a fair chance when deciding custody in your divorce, you need to be ready to show the court just how involved a father you are.
What does that mean? Consider these tips:
- Keep track of your child’s important documents. Part of being a capable parent means knowing how to lay your hands on birth certificates, shot records and school transcripts.
- Be visible to the other people in your child’s life. You’re going to have a hard time convincing a judge that you’re involved in your child’s life if you’re unknown to their daycare provider, teachers and coaches.
- Keep a journal of your time. Documenting what you do around the house, especially when it comes to childcare, could be very useful in your case.
- Document your connection. Photos, cards and notes that record any special connections you’ve made with your child may not seem like much, but they can count for a lot in court. Get involved in their hobbies, make sure you know their friends and talk to them about their goals.
Shared custody is almost always better for your children, so don’t let yourself lose out due to gender biases. Experienced guidance may help.