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Fathers and Child Custody in California

It is a common belief that women are the more capable parent and child caregiver. Historically, the public has stereotyped the mother’s role as critical to a child’s physical, emotional and social development. Alternately, the father’s customary role was the supplying of food, shelter, clothing and acting as a disciplinarian. His position in the home rarely involved the direct care and nurturing of the couple’s children. Because of these long-established biases, when a couple divorced the mother usually received custody of the children.

California family courts no longer embrace the traditional model of parental roles and view the approach as antiquated. Rather than favoring one parent over the other, California family courts have adopted a more balanced and evolved philosophy that guides child custody awards. This viewpoint requires that custody determinations be based on only what the evidence demonstrates is in the best interest of the child. In this stance, the role of both parents is critical to the overall development and well being of the child.
Child custody battles often have devastating effects on both parents. However, in a heated and prolonged custody battle, your child is the person who suffers the most. Because of the potential long-term negative effects on your child, California family courts frequently disfavor those parents who attempt to alienate their child from the other parent. Parental alienation occurs when one parent tells lies to their child about the other parent, thwarts the other parent’s visitation time or engages in other behaviors that could cause the child to lose trust and respect for the non-custodial parent. Prevailing in a custody dispute requires the presentation of only truthful, objective and verifiable evidence. Making false allegations of child abuse, neglect, endangerment or other questionable behaviors will weaken even the most solid of child custody cases. Alternately, the court will favor the parent who consistently demonstrates that they are in the best position to assist the child in fostering a positive relationship with the opposing parent.

Several factors can influence the father’s likelihood of success in a child custody case. The father must demonstrate to the court his readiness to assume the role of primary custodian. The odds of winning are higher if the father can show a history of gainful employment and job stability. To gain custody the father must secure and maintain a safe and sanitary residence that can adequately accommodate the needs of the child. Additionally, the court may ask to review the father’s plans for childcare for the times he is at work, medical care arrangements and more.
During custody disputes, the court scrutinizes the character of both parents. It is best that personal conduct is unmarred. Those individuals with a history of criminal convictions, drug and alcohol abuse problems, untreated mental illness and domestic violence rarely receive a custody award.

Statistics demonstrate that if a father’s personal conduct is unmarred and he can prove that he is ready to take on the task of primary caregiver, he can, and often does prevail in a child custody dispute. Sadly, many men who desperately seek this custodial role give up prematurely. They fear and erroneously think that the family courts favor the mother. Moreover, many fathers simply stop the custody battle because they cannot afford the mounting legal fees, the costs associated with court appointed professionals, cannot take the time off work for court hearings and more. As fathers become more educated, they will realize that that they do have good odds of gaining custody of their children. However, they must persevere in the legal proceedings and not give up prematurely.

The California family court has evolved and no longer views the mother as the only suitable caregiver for children. Today, the family court views the father’s role as equally important. Within the current legal system in California, fathers are encouraged to step up and play a more active role in their child’s lives. For fathers, becoming the primary custodian is no longer an unachievable goal. However, once the responsibility is obtained, the custodial parent has an obligation to foster their child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. After all, a positive relationship with both parents is in the best interest of the child.

big>Consult a Lawyer
A knowledgeable family law attorney is one of the best resources to turn to when considering a divorce and its effects on child custody. A divorce attorney can work with you to establish the criteria to consider regarding divorce, child custody and so many other aspects of ending a marriage.

Family Law Practice Overview is located in Santa Rosa and offers an entire scope of divorce services to clients in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, Kelseyville and throughout Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake County.

Beck Law P.C. offers a no cost, no obligation initial consultation and can furnish the experience and knowledge to help guide you as you come to the decision to divorce and navigate the waters ahead.

Making an appointment to meet with us is not a decision to file for divorce. It is merely an investment in exploring what options may or may not apply to your particular situation. Your visit to the Beck Law Offices is confidential, as is the information discussed. You can contact our office at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.

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