The following is Part 1 of the full transcript from my interview with a local newspaper in Asheville, NC. This newspaper has over 75,000 readers every week and 800 locations throughout Western North Carolina.
*For the privacy of Erik’s Family and the Son’s Mother, the Author’s last name has not been used in any content. No person’s actual name has referenced throughout our articles or custody guides.
What issues and subjects does Fathers’ Rights Simplified address that other custody guides do not?
I found that the majority of custody guides cover the broad field of child custody and very little on gathering credible evidence that is vital to a custody dispute. When reading these books during my initial research, I couldn’t reach the level of confidence I desired as a father entering a custody dispute with my child’s future on the line. I was seeking a more concrete approach with current issues and strategies to prepare myself for trial. Enduring a child custody dispute is such an overwhelming experience and the pressure to understand the whole legal process in less than a year can push you to the edge. So, instead of writing a book on all the elements of Family Law, I focused on straightforward steps a parent can take to immediately prepare for their case.
Before retaining my Family Law attorney, I consulted with three other attorneys to learn about fathers’ rights, the legal process, and preparing for trial. During these consultations, they consistently mentioned these “factors” that Family Court judges assess when determining the best interests of the child. Behaviors they like to see parents exhibiting and what can raise red flags. Through my consultations and research of hundreds of case studies, I developed a list of common factors that will either improve or hinder a parent’s likelihood of winning child custody.
Evidence Strategies for Child Custody offers preparation strategies that are centered around the criteria commonly used by Family Court judges. I call this criteria, the “Child Custody Factors”, and once you understand them, you are in better position to effectively gather and organize evidence relative to your case. The book further simplifies the process by outlining what types of evidence are considered credible and persuasive–something that most parents don’t have any clue about.
Is there a changing perception of parental roles that has created a demand for this book?
Yes. The social norms which assume the father to be the breadwinner and deem the home as the mother’s domain are now becoming outdated. We’re seeing a rise in stay-at-home-dads and scenarios where both parents work and take care of the children equally.
Family Courts are recognizing that a parent’s gender does not define their parental roles and capabilities. When making a custody ruling, most Family Court judges are now utilizing a gender-neutral standard, which assesses the child’s best interest. Providing this level ground for parents in a child custody dispute has empowered more fathers to step forward and request joint custody over their child.
The myth that mothers are biologically “better parents” is being challenged more than ever, as the amassing statistics of fatherless-children are demonstrating serious disadvantages and developmental effects, which carry through into adulthood. There has been a recent growth in organizations that advocate for equal custody arrangements and co-parenting plans that support the child in building strong connections with both parents.
When approaching a custody dispute, fathers are realizing that the argument claiming that a father’s parental capabilities are inferior to a mother’s is a weak one. As the divide between parental roles and responsibilities continues to blur, many are recognizing the true value of involved fathers and the tremendous benefits a child receives.
Do you think there is a changing cultural perception of masculinity that has created a generation of fathers who demand to be more involved and a change in the status quo?
Family dynamics have been shifting, which have ultimately affected society’s perception of masculinity and a man’s ability to be a caretaker. However, after many decades of custody rulings that offered fathers only limited time with their children, labeling this quality time as “visitation”, our society still marginalizes fathers as caretakers, either praising them for taking on basic parenting tasks or wondering what happened to their career. Many fathers are now speaking up about the frustrations that come from these stubborn societal expectations and how they no longer apply. When a father is caring for his children, it should be seen as parenting, not “babysitting”.
Countless studies have been published, finding fatherless children to be at least 2-3 times more likely to runaway, abuse drugs, become depressed, be a victim of abuse, or engage in early sexual activity or criminal activity. With these alarming statistics on the rise, it’s becoming more apparent that a man’s contribution as a loving parent is crucial component to a developing child and our society.
What inspired you to create this online resource and write this series?
My initial research on child custody was out of necessity for my own situation, but given the amount of resources and knowledge that I amassed, I quickly realized I could help other parents avoid some unnecessary expenses and not become overwhelmed in the preparation process. My professional work was already in the field of consulting and helping authors self-publish, so applying that to my own experience only made sense.
During my research on fathers in child custody disputes, I was astounded by the effects a father-absent home can have on a child and the rate at which they exist in our society. Making matters worse, I was shocked to discover custody guides that actually encouraged immoral strategies to undermine fathers. Instead of focusing on deceptive strategies, Evidence Strategies for Child Custody helps dedicated fathers counter malicious tactics and assists them in presenting a case that demonstrates their active involvement and commitment as a parent.
Before I filed for custody, I reached out to the greater community and learned that many parents shared similar experiences of disputes after a separation or divorce. While seeking the advice of other parents, I was told that the Family Court judges in Buncombe County valued a father’s involvement and supported equal parenting. I was curious to see how cases were handled first hand and sat through numerous custody hearings before my own trial.
When witnessing families cycle through the Buncombe County Family Courtroom, I did not witness a bias towards either parent, but rather the judges commended parents who put their personal issues aside so that the best interests of their child came first. In contrast, I saw how parents who slandered or made unnecessarily inflammatory remarks about the other parent put their intentions in question. Unless there was clear evidence that demonstrated a child was in danger, the judges gave the parents every opportunity to work out a parenting plan before heading to trial. I believe the Buncombe County Family Court is a good model for how Family Courts can value shared parenting, the importance of fathers, and recognize the tremendous benefits this has on our children and communities.
To further prepare, I read countless case studies on child custody. I discovered that lies and false accusations are rampant in Family Court, often clouding the most important issues in a case and delaying a judge’s ability to determine the best interests of the child. I learned quite a lot about different types of evidence, what’s credible, and how to organize it properly for trial. At the conclusion of our hearing, my attorney turned to me with a smile and said, “I’m going to offer you a job”.
Is this book only for fathers?
Although it’s written from a father’s perspective, the Custody Factors are not gender specific and the evidence strategies can be applied by either parent. The book can help any parent properly prepare for a custody dispute without having to learn the entire legal process. In my case, having the right evidence organized for trial made my attorney’s job much easier during every phase of the case. Regardless of how good a parent you are or how unfit the other parent is, you must be able to demonstrate it by providing credible and compelling evidence.