Do Fathers Get an Unfair Advantage in Family Court?
Video Transcribed: Hello, I am Tulsa Father’s Rights Lawyer Jason Lile here in the northeastern Oklahoma area. I want to speak to the gentlemen out there today. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re needing help, legal help, with either a paternity case where custody of your children is it issue or a divorce case, I’m speaking to you today.
I want to address the general question that I often get: Why do dads get hosed in divorce in family law cases? First of all, let me acknowledge I’m a dad and I understand how that feels when you go through a situation like that, that you might feel like you’re not going to get a fair shake because you’re a man. I want to tell you first and foremost that Oklahoma law is on your side. It specifically states an Oklahoma law that you are not supposed to have any preference working against you, and that there’s no preference for gender when it comes to parental rights.
We’ll start there. If they do, why do men get an unfair shake in court and divorce court? I’m going to go through four basic reasons why that happens. The first reason. You just give up. When you’re going through a custody or divorce battle, you need to understand that this is a long-term problem. Divorce is at a minimum and the most efficient way if there are children involved takes three months. You can’t get a divorce any sooner than that. Most of the time they take six months to a year if they’re contested or if they’re contentious. One thing that you need to do is to prepare your mind, prepare your financial life, and prepare your emotional life in such a way that you expect a protracted matter. It’s going to take a while. Many of my clients, if they get frustrated, give up in various ways.
They’ll stop paying their attorney. They’ll stop communicating with their attorney. They will stop trying to communicate with the mother of the children or child. They just give up. You cannot do that. You need to trust your lawyer to move the case along as efficiently as it’s as practical to get you a good result. Don’t give up. The second reason that men sometimes don’t get what they need or want in core when it comes to a custody case is that they mess up. Many times I am giving legal advice and you will find it, and any good lawyer, a family law lawyer is this way. You will find it intermingled with personal advice. Why is that? The family law court has two main concerns. Number one is equity. Okay? That means fairness. What is fair if you’re dividing assets and debts and whatnot?
The second and more important concern when it comes to your children is what is in their best interest of children. If you are messing up in your personal life, that means if you have a criminal case you pick up in the middle of it. If you end up getting a protective order because you are harassing or stalking the children’s mother, even if it’s in the interest of trying to get time with your children. If you should spend money that you’re not supposed to spend during the middle of a divorce. All of these things can bring you into court behind the eight ball. Why? Because now any lawyer worth anything that represents the mother is going to come into court and say, “This father messed up,” and try and connect that to whether or not you should have equal time with your children or joint legal custody with your children.
One of the most important things you need to do, and I tell my clients this all the time is to keep your act together while this is going on. That may mean keeping your act together for six months, nine months, or a year. That may be hard for some of you, but that is extremely important. The third reason I find that men might not get what they want or need in court in a custody case is they fail to state their case effectively. You can have all good evidence. You can have the facts on your side. You can have what feels right to you in your heart and your mind on your side, but if it’s not stated effectively to the judge at the right time, it won’t help you. Okay? I have clients all the time who bring me 600 printouts of text messages and social media messages and photographs.
If you pay a good lawyer and take the time to hire a good lawyer, you need to trust that lawyer to make sure that that material is presented effectively in court. That means in the right way. There are rules of evidence that will allow these things in. That means in the right way if you want the children’s preference to be entered into the court record or presented to the judge. You may need to consider a guardian ad litem and that means at the right time. That should include informal communication with the other attorney in an effective way. It definitely should include utilizing it in an effective way in the courtroom when it comes time to have a hearing on the merits. Stating your case effectively, how can you do that? Hire a good lawyer. The last thing I wanted to talk to you about is that many men tend to overreach.
Why? Because divorce and custody issues are emotional things. Many of you come to my office and are upset for various reasons. She spent money we didn’t have. She cheated on me. She left me. You name it, has our friends wrapped around her finger, has lied to my parents, lied to me. It doesn’t matter. This case is about your children. When you overreach, and what I mean by that is you focus on something other than what’s in the best interest of your children. You’re going to lose because family law courts when it comes to custody and visitation decisions are primarily concerned with what’s in the best interest of that child. Okay? That’s it.
You cannot be trying to punish that woman through this case. You cannot be trying to run up the bill for her. If you are in a punitive mindset, you’re going to lose more often than not in court. These are just some of the reasons that I see men get behind the eight ball in a court case when it comes to custody and visitation.
If you find yourself in need of good legal representation, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you consult with that case and take on your case for you and fight for you. Thank you for your time. Again, this is Oklahoma divorce attorney Jason Lile with TulsaFathersRights.lawyer and I look forward to hearing from you.