Will Being A Stay-At-Home Dad Affect My Custody Chances?

January 19, 2020 O'Connor Family Law Child Custody

While mothers often used to be given preference for custody after a divorce, the courts only show preference for what is in the best interest of the child, regardless of whether that parent is a mother or father. However, we know that as a father you have concerns about being awarded custody, especially if you were a stay-at-home spouse. Because you didn’t develop your career during the time you stayed home, will a court think you cannot provide for your child? Will you be taken seriously in court?

With over 35 combined years of experience exclusively working in family law, we know how to represent you and fight for the custody, visitation, and potential child support you deserve as a father. You took time out of your career and life to raise your children and your rights as a parent must be respected.


Being the primary caretaker for the child always works in a parent’s favor, regardless of whether they are the mother or father. This is because the courts view the primary caretaker as the person that knows their child best. As a stay-at-home father, the court will likely presume that you know what is best for the child.

The courts do not want to disrupt the child’s life more than necessary and staying with the parent that is always at home with them could make the transition to a divorced family a bit easier. In the past, mothers often got awarded custody over the father, but this was often because mothers were the default stay-at-home parent. Today, many fathers stay home instead and should be awarded the same consideration.


Even as a stay-at-home dad, there are some factors that can hurt their custody case. Some judges are unfortunately still biased towards mothers in custody cases. It isn’t possible to know about a judge’s bias or completely eliminate it from the process, but our extraordinary legal team could find some creative solutions to refute this backwards line of thought.

You may also face a challenge regarding financial autonomy. Although lower-earning spouses can be awarded alimony by the Massachusetts courts, this can still hurt stay-at-home parents and it may be difficult to show you can financially provide for your child. You will need to show that you still have marketable skills as even if you are awarded alimony, you will still be expected to earn an income to support your child.


Child custody cases are difficult for everyone involved, but they can often be particularly troubling to fathers because they historically lost these cases. Fortunately, mothers are not automatically awarded custody the way they once were, and fathers have just as good a chance today. If you are a stay-at-home dad and need help with your custody case, call our Westborough office today to discuss your legal options and start fighting for your family. We won’t quit until you and your child are set up for success after your divorce.