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Father gains child custody by making healthier life choices

Sigmund Freud once said, "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." Many fathers, however, are not there to protect their children because they do not have custody of them. In some cases, this is because the father has a history of drug abuse or criminal charges and has been deemed unfit for child custody.

This was the case for a Brooklyn man whose pursuit of drugs, crime and nightclub life led him to reject being a father to several young children. He now says that the day he heard his girlfriend was pregnant with another child was not his happiest day. The mother's drug addiction led to the daughter's premature birth. Unfortunately, the man went to prison for assault before his daughter was born. During his imprisonment, the man met his infant daughter and fell in love with her.

After he was paroled, he was advised to stay sober in order to get custody of his daughter. As New York law requires, the best interests of the child was then used to determine who should get child custody. In most cases, custody goes to one of the biological parents. Only in rare cases where living biological parents are deemed unfit to be parents will courts give custody to relatives or unrelated third persons. Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, and the man was awarded custody of his daughter.

The man's story shows that fathers who have lost hope of ever gaining custody of their biological children may be able to prevail if they make changes that show they can meet the best interests of their children. In this case, the father was able to leave a life of drugs and crime.

Source: New York Times, "Turning his life around to gain custody of his child," Matt Flegenheimer, Jan. 10, 2015

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