One of the last things any family plans for is the dissolution of a marriage. While plenty of marriages end without being contested—in as amicable a fashion as one could imagine the process going—the majority of them end up being contested in court. When this occurs, more often than not, custody of children is involved. While typically people have seen the court system as ruling in favor of the mother, in recent times new precedents and laws have swayed the balance to be more 50/50 in favor of both mother and father’s rights in divorce.

Courts in and around the state of Florida, for example, have begun ruling in favor of an equal sharing system for child custody. When dealing with the stressful nature of a divorce that involves child custody, you’ll want an experienced father’s rights lawyer in Florida representing your best interests as a caring dad.

Visitation & Custody

In most cases, dad’s rights in divorce grant—at the very least—visitation. In most cases, partial or shared custody can be arranged. These are notwithstanding unusual circumstances or underlying scenarios. For example, a father with a criminal history of domestic violence against the mother who is filing for divorce may not be granted visitation or custody at all, or may be granted court supervised visitation instead. Excluding these unique circumstances, however, in most cases, the father will have viable visitation and or shared custody rights, as determined by the court and set forth by family law.

Joint Custody

Under most situations of divorce that involve custody of a minor, the law affords for parents to agree to “shared parental responsibility.” This is just a lengthy term for shared custody. It loosely translates into meaning that both parents are responsible for making unified and joint decisions about the child’s wellbeing—including healthcare, schooling and other matters. For parents that want full custody, the courts will base their decision on which parent offers the “best interest of the child” when making their decision.

Courts will often consider elements, such as the mental health of both parents and “past parental involvement in the child’s life” when determining full or partial custody. While yesterday’s court system seemed to overwhelming favor mother’s rights in the instances of child custody, much has changed during the present day. That’s because women are equally as involved in the workforce and are no longer seen as the “sole caregivers” of the children they are helping raise.

Still, today’s court system is complicated and confusing. When custody of your children is on the line, it’s more than just a battle; it’s your livelihood. If you find yourself in the unfavorable position of getting divorced with a potential custody battle in the works, make sure you consult with an experienced divorce attorney in your region to gain professional counsel and to give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome.