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Divorced Dads Tips: Understanding Winning Child Custody

Feb 25, 2008
DISCLAIMER: The following is NOT legal advice, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. If you are in Family Court you will need legal advice, so please see a lawyer.

Understanding Winning Custody of your children when you are a divorced dad requires a new way of looking at what Winning really means. For example, let's say that you went to family court, spent $50,000.00 and won custody of your kids. You think "Ahhh, I've won."

What if Mom drags you back into family court eight months later because she doesn't like how you're parenting? You've technically got custody of your kids, but what is that custody actually worth? Who is going to make the decision about your kids?

The judge. In effect the judge, on behalf of the government, has custody of your kids. Why is this good news for you? Even though that the majority of custody orders favor moms and designate "sole custody", the important thing to remember is that her custody in itself is an illusion.

This means that the fight for custody is also an illusion.

Say it out loud: "Custody is an illusion." Just keep repeating that phrase to yourself until understanding starts to sink in.

Use Mom's desire to gain custody as a negotiating chip to get time with your child, when the law is on her side in a custody dispute. When she is faced with getting what she wants for little cost versus having to spend a lot of money, she will likely opt for giving you what you want: TIME with your kids.

Make sure to connect time with your kids to how it benefits the kids. Don't look at it as away to reduce child support. Get time with your kids and get that established. Pay the child support. Once that's established, you can take a look at child support arrangements. If you fight over money, it becomes the main issue. They'll claim that the only reason you want more time is so you can spend less on child support.

The best counter to that argument is: "By your logic, the only reason you want your kids so much is so you can use them to get that child support..." When you go back to court, you must litigate over the right issues. Be a peace maker, not a trouble maker...

BE FOCUSED: Your issue is you want time and influence with your child and it is fully possible to get that without having a custody order.

In many places custody only means the right to make:
a) Religious Decisions
b) Medical Decisions
c) Educational Decisions
d) Legal Decisions

For medical, legal and educational decisions, if there is a strong disagreement, the family court judge decides. However, a judge will generally allow both parents to participate in their religion. They will not listen to any objections because, after all, the parents knew or reasonably should have known this might have been a bone of contention when they picked each others as parenting partners.

Most times going back to Family Court is either about child support, alimony, more access time or enforcement of access time. Most divorced dads confuse custody with access or time. Recognize that having custody does not end your problems with parenting time, it only trades one set of difficulties for another.

During my divorce, I wished for a divorce roadmap. That's why we created a weekly telewebcast, to help men like yourself.

If you've lost in Family Court, don't give up. There is always hope. You've likely lost because you didn't understand that winning requires effectively "waging peace" for your children.

If you base your game plan and strategies upon those of successful fathers, you will improve your chances of success immeasurably. You need help from dads who have done what you are trying to do.
About the Author
Danny Guspie - Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at

where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.
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