I am very much in my child’s life. I see her every weekend (If the mother feels like letting me see her). The mother and I are currently going through a divorce and I requested that she has the sole physical custody and joint legal custody. Recently, I found out that she filed a counter-claim for sole legal custody. What are my rights as a father who pays support and makes effort to be with my daughter when she is not in school? I want to know what I can do so she don’t fully take my rights as my daughter’s father.
Mr. Haven’s answer is a good one but focuses on legal custody.
As to physical custody, that is defiend by where your child lays his/her head at night and how often. The Court will consider a lot of facts and factors in an effort to make a decision and a schedule that is in your child’s best interests. Until and unless there is a court order in place both parents have equal rights to the child under the law. Still, if the mother has been doing most of the caretaking and the child lives with the mother most of the time, you should consider what is best for the child right now as far as the child’s schedule and time with you goes before you insist on more time. There is nothing wrong with wanting and asking for more time but it is always ebst tom come to a mutual agreement with the other parent.
Custody cases are very difficult and emotions can get in the way of seeing what is best and most reasonable. You would be well served to speak with an attorney about this. The most important thing is keeping your child out of the middle of the disagreement about custody. One thing you can do is to sign up for a co-parenting class. The Court will require you to do it anyway and both parents can learn a lot from it. Montgomery County uses a different group but the National Family Resiliency Center in Columbia has great classes (ww.divorceabc.com) and the Court recognizes them as an approved provider.