When it comes to child custody decisions made in court, there is an common misconception that mothers are favored over fathers. There is even an old pedantic saying: “If you want to keep the kids, be a mother.” It is possible that this situation was true at some point. However, as a team working in the court system and seeing these decisions made every single day, we can say with confidence that this is no longer the case.
Courts today in Washington always want to address parenting from a best interest standpoint. They will examine the family individually and work to apply the law correctly to the particular circumstances. Mothers and fathers alike both start on an even playing field, and the courts genuinely believe it is in the best interest of the children involved that both parents stay active parts of their lives.
At the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC, we like to examine not just what families have done in the past, but their potential for nurturing their children as they continue to grow up. This June, for Father’s Day, we wanted to take some time to advocate for fathers who are fighting for time with their children in divorce and custody proceedings.
Dads, don’t give up! Don’t ever lose hope. Dads are just as important as Moms in the upbringing of a child. We always encourage fathers to be just as involved in parenting functions as their spouses and partners are. That includes their child’s school, daycare, doctors, after school activities, and daily life. Don’t let your spouse or other parent do all of that work alone. If you are less involved than you would like to be, now is the time to get started!
If you are a father who thinks that a separation may be coming, keep records of all the efforts you make in taking on equal parenting duties. We also want to remind fathers not to take any time with their children for granted. Find some activities that will bring you and your child closer. Sustaining that bond, even in times of conflict or stress or overwork, is one of the most important things in life.
Lastly, if you are fighting with the other parent, keep your child safe from the conflict. Children understand from a very young age that they are “made up” of both parents, and it is very distressing to see any part of themselves under attack. If your children do see you arguing, use it as an opportunity to model effective dispute resolution techniques by making sure that the children see you resolving the conflict even if that means agreeing to disagree. It can serve as a teaching moment of ways to calmly resolve conflicts.
At the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC, we believe in advocating for all parents to have an active role in their child’s life, regardless of gender. If you are struggling with child custody, contact the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC today to get the help you deserve. We are a team of compassionate legal professionals at your service!