Fathers in Alaska who are hoping to maintain positive relationships with their children may wonder what is involved in the custody process. First, it’s important to understand the different types of custody. Some people may think of custody as being about which parent a child lives with. While that is known as physical custody, there is also legal custody, and this determines which parent is able to make major decisions about the child’s life.

One parent could have full custody, or custody may be shared. While parents might not share physical custody, they could share legal custody. However, even if one parent has full custody, that doesn’t mean the other parent won’t get to spend time with the child. That parent usually still has visitation rights.

Fathers who were unmarried at the time of their child’s birth may need to establish paternity. They may be concerned that the court will favor giving custody to the mother, but courts are not supposed to discriminate on gender. Courts will consider what kind of resources parents have to support the child, the relationship between the parent and child, and the wishes of older children. Ultimately, the decision will rest on what the court believes is in the children’s best interests. Fathers who want custody should try to be cooperative and avoid arguing with the mother.

There are Anchorage family law attorneys for men who may be able to assist a father in a child custody case. If a case must go to court, the father may want to gather documentation of his involvement in the child’s life. For example, if he is able to show that he takes the child to the doctor, attends school meetings and is a caregiver in other ways, it could help his case.