What are the chances of my ex husband getting joint custody of our two children? 21 Answers as of June 24, 2013

I am getting a divorce and my husband wants joint custody of our 2 small children. I do not feel comfortable letting my children spend more time than necessary with him. He has never changed a diaper, fed them a meal, put them to bed, etc. He doesn't know what it takes to care for a child. He does have custody of a child he had out of wedlock five years ago, but I believe he only got custody because we were married and the mother of the five year old couldn't hold down a job and moved around a lot. Me and the kids are temporarily living with my parents until I can get a job and get our own place. My soon to be ex husband has a girlfriend already and she has a 3 year old son. I do not want my kids involved in this mixed-up, confusing situation that my husband has put us in. I wanted to work this out with him and have tried to get him to go to counseling but he would rather have his girlfriend. What chance does he have to get joint custody?

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Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
The family court looks at the best interest of the children, which include many factors, as enumerated uner NRS 125B. It is typically presumed that custody should be joint, so you will need to be prepared to show the judge why he should award primary custody. An attorney can assist you in preparing evidence and understanding which facts would be important to the judge.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/19/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
There is absolutely no way any lawyer who knows anything about family law can answer your question. I apologize if that sounds blunt, but you are asking for a quantitative analysis of your case based on your opinion and observations on a few very limited matters with no input on the dynamics of the relationship between you and him, him and the kids, the kids themselves, or the ages of the kids (define "small"). That said, first, you need to know your "feelings" on the matter are not evidence, so please be careful with that phrase. The fact he is a "father" not a "daddy" has a lot of bearing in my book, but your Judge may or may not see it the way I do (FYI - I put my daughter to bed every night, I changed her first diaper and my wife will readily admit I changed 40% of the diapers that needed changing when I was home - I can't leave the office just to change a diaper, I got up in the night and handled the midnight feeding, now that she is in elementary school, I take her to school every morning, I feed her breakfast every morning and I am the one she runs to when she falls and scrapes a knee or something like that - this is what I call being a Daddy and in my book it matters). The question is will your husband claim he does these things? Or will he admit he does not? Will the Judge think it is significant or will the Judge excuse it as a division of labor? "Division of Labor" is a term I use, it is not a legal term, and it refers to the division of duties and responsibilities between a husband and wife, particularly when one is a stay at home parent, he or she becomes responsible for running the household, cooking, cleaning, child rearing, etc while the other parent earns income. As for the new paramour . . . that too is a factor that plays into this in multiple ways, not the least of which is what is the Judge's personal opinion on the matter? If the Judge is old fashioned - then it matters a lot, if the Judge is not so old fashioned, how much does he flaunt the girlfriend around will likely have affect on the case, discretion is important in almost every endeavor, particularly here.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/16/2011
Goolsby Law Office
Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
We recommend you retain a lawyer to discuss all your rights and options as soon as possible. WHile no one can predict what a judge might do, it sounds like you have some good arguments and evidence to discuss with your attorney. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 9/16/2011
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
You can always insist that he take a parenting class.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/24/2013
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Here is some information about custody: Joint legal custody is preferred in CT - that is when both parents consult and agree about major issues like health education and religion. Residence is physical custody. The overriding principle is the children's best interests. Hopefully you and he will be able to reach a compromise that will be the best for the children.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 9/15/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Mediation might be a good option to work through all of these issues in your divorce. Custody is typically joint, it is the placement schedule that is important. In Wisconsin, many factors are considered. Using mediation as the way to proceed through your divorce, or at least a child specialist to help map out a parenting agreement, is highly recommended.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Your husband has a good chance of gaining joint custody of your children, as it is presumed to be in the children's best interest in the state of Louisiana. Even fathers who have been fairly reluctant in the past are often given a new chance when a divorce occurs, especially where they come forward and fight for custody. You should consult with an attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    The presumption is joint custody unless there is a health or safety risk for not having joint custody. As for placement, the statutes require maximizing placement with both parents so it is likely that you will end up with a shared placement situation.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    He always has a chance. There are many factors that go into the court's decision regarding time sharing. I suggest you consult and experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    California courts will look at many factors in determining custody. The goal of the courts is that each parent have frequent and continuing contact with the children. Courts will look at which parent is more likely to facilitate a relationship with the other parent when determining custody. If you have concerns about his parenting, you may present those issues to the court. He may be required to take a parenting class. You should probably retain an attorney so that you can present a clear argument to the court. In the long run, however your ex husband may end up having joint custody of the children if the court deems that it is in their best interests.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Unless your husband has harmed the children, has substance abuse problems or mental health issues that are not being properly cared for by a doctor, the courts would support the contention that both parents share joint legal custody. Legal custody means both parents make health, education and welfare decisions jointly for the children. Actual parenting time is designed based on what is in the best interests of the children. Just because you husband wants some semblance of an equal time share does not mean this arrangement serves the needs of the children. Please meet with a skilled family law attorney to explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    He has a good chance of getting joint legal custody, but his chances of getting joint physical custody depend on how the judicial officer evaluates him as a father based on the evidence provided to the Court. I assume that you were the person who provided the majority of the parenting for his child out of wedlock during the marriage. You would likely be awarded primary physical custody, under the facts that you relate, but you would best retain an experienced Family Lawyer to represent you in the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Children benefit most when exposed to both parents, assuming both are fit and not a danger to the children. Your antiquated comments about "changing diapers, etc." may be relevant to a point. However, your question belies an old stereotype that is being changed in most forward-thinking courts.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    His chances for joint custody are probably pretty good. The State of Ohio favors that. See a domestic relations lawyer near you SOON.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
    The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
    In Ohio, joint custody is called shared parenting. Shared parenting is not about the time the children spend with each parent, but about joint decision making. With shared parenting, you and your husband have to discuss and agree upon the important decisions in your children's lives, such as medical treatment, school placement, extracurricular activities, religious training, and disciplinary measures. To avoid shared parenting, you would need to show the court that you and your husband cannot make decision together regarding your children, that your husband does not make good decisions for your children, or that there is history of domestic violence.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    No one can give you odds, but judges prefer joint legal custody. He will probably do very well because judges abhor hearing a parent say what you said the way you said it. It is VITAL that you get a lawyer, who can properly present the same arguments in a way that will improve your chances, rather than how you presented it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado the term "joint custody" is meaningless. If you are using the term as referring simply to describe whether or not the child will spend any time with the father, it is almost certain that the father will be awarded some amount of "parenting time". It is very unlikely that a court will deny him any time with the child. Colorado's system expects that a comprehensive Parenting Plan will be developed and ordered by the court. If you and the father cannot agree to a suitable Plan, the Court will establish a Plan based on what it considers is best for the child. As a starting point, the court will presume that what is best for a child is to have two, loving, caring parents involved in parenting. That means the Plan will have deal with how much time the child will spend in each parent's home, who makes the decisions, and who has what responsibilities.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
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