Provided that both parents are fit to provide a stable home, a joint custody agreement can and should be made early on. It is integral that parents plan to reside close enough to get child from home to home, and for both parents to live close to any schools or activities the child attends. This agreement will stay closest to a "50/50" agreement when it is handled outside of a courtroom. Involving a judge can factor in several outside elements, which may or may not be helpful to each party in getting more custody.
If the child or children are to remain with the mother, a father who can prove himself as a fit parents has the right to regular visitation. For a family handling the situation outside of court, the agreement can be whatever the parents choose. For families that must resolve the matter in a court room, a judge will decide, based on several factors, how much time a father is allowed. This can range from visits as few as once a week (or month) to spending entire weekends (or weeks) together. Particularly for cases handled in a court room, it is integral for fathers to abide exactly by the judges orders to ensure their future rights.
In the case of a relationship where the mother and father can no longer communicate without a fight, both parties should consult lawyers before making any big moves. Laws can vary by state, but the constant is that "everything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law." A father in a volatile relationship with his wife (or ex-wife) should stay calm in order to protect his rights to see his children.
- dad image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com