Today’s legal market is full of law firms touting themselves as “Father’s Rights,” lawyers. Many make a wide range of promises that are ultimately unrealistic and not healthy for their clients’ cases or families. The term or category of “Father’s Rights,” is actually a bit misleading when it comes to divorce law in the state of New Mexico. Men and women have the exact same rights when it comes to divorce and custody. As a father, however, you do need to be aware of the proper strategy to get the best results in your case. There are definitely approaches, techniques and arguments that maximize your ability to obtain a great result as it relates to the custody and proper settlement of your case.
WHAT YOUR REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FATHER’S RIGHTS IN NEW MEXICO
As previously mentioned, fathers and mothers have exactly the same rights under the laws of New Mexico. This does NOT mean, however, that this will result in a 50-50 custody arrangement for example. Nor is that required under the law. So, what exactly do you need to know about your rights in this state?
The first thing is that many courts used to follow a legal principal called “the tender years doctrine.” This meant that the courts followed the idea that mother’s should have custody of very young children. While that doctrine has been abolished, it certainly seems to echo in our courthouses today, and there often seems to be a built in bias against fathers.
It is important to understand then, that is it not enough to merely claim you have equal rights to custody of your children when presenting your case to the court. The court will apply the legal standard of “best interests of the child,” when deciding child custody, and you and your lawyer must be able to present your case properly as it relates to that standard.
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A FATHER
To maximize your time with your children in a custody case, you must be able to establish that your proposed custody arrangement is the best interests of your children. This means the more involved you are with the day to happenings in your children’s lives, the better off your case will be, and frankly, this will also be healthier for your children. This means, as early as possible, even before your divorce starts, you should be doing things like helping with homework, being involved in picking up and dropping the children off for school, sporting events, and other activities. If you are separated, it is even more important for you to have some daily involvement in your children’s lives. Many fathers act like “weekend fathers,” and then are shocked when the court doesn’t award 50-50 custody.
One of the most common arguments made against a father having more time with the children is that the parties have difficulty communicating. There are, however, many tools that are now available that use modern technology to help parties co-parent their children effectively. One of these is called Our Family Wizard, which can help coordinate communication with the parties, and can also be used to show the court compliance or non-compliance with court orders. You should always consider these sorts of tools when putting together a parenting plan or making a proposal to the court or opposing party.
So, don’t believe the hype that some lawyers will sell you, that because they are a “Father’s Rights” firm they will somehow get you a great deal. You have to lay the groundwork, and then be able to present your case to the court, or negotiate the right deal with opposing counsel, so that you can maximize your rights, but also create a great custody arrangement for your children as well.
CALL ONE OF OUR ATTORNEYS TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR RIGHTS AS A FATHER
New Mexico Legal Group represents fathers in Albuquerque and throughout the state of New Mexico to maximize their rights under the law. If you need to protect your child custody rights and the needs of your children, call us at (505) 843-7303. We look forward to providing you with the legal counsel needed to ensure your family’s interests are taken care of and protected.