Many divorcing fathers may feel as if they are at a significant disadvantage in Ohio child custody proceedings simply because of their gender. They fear that the court tries to hold parents to their traditional roles (i.e. the mother being the homemaker and caretaker of children, the father being the breadwinner and secondary guardian).

Despite these beliefs, Ohio child custody law has evolved where both parents are viewed as viable candidates for physical and legal custody. Essentially, courts are not allowed to make arbitrary choices favoring a man over a woman in deciding what is in the best interests of the child. Rather, they are to look at who has served as the primary parental figure in the child’s life, as one of many factors detailed by state law.

Even with this requirement, men who have been the primary breadwinner still may feel as if the necessity of providing for the family will be used against them, and they will be relegated to second-class citizen status when it comes to spending time with children. Again, the key is whether a father takes a vested interest in parenting and being involved in the child’s life. Even with a hectic work schedule, fathers who find time to drop off kids at school, make meals and attend parent teacher conferences can find themselves on equal footing with mothers.

Moreover, family court judges are trained to read unspoken cues and read between the lines. They understand when a father (or mother, for that matter) is only feigning interest in their kids to avoid a child support obligation.

If you have questions about custody and how working fathers can maintain relationships with their children, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, Father’s rights in divorce: myths and facts, March 22, 2013