Advocate Legal Centers

FATHERS RIGHTS

Regarding custody, Fathers Rights have traditionally been overlooked during child custody cases. Under the law of every state in the Union, each biological parent has equal rights to visitation and childcare.  These rights extend to the period when the couple is going through a divorce. A father rights regarding custody and visitation should be determined on  how much time he can spend with his children in the future and fight for visitation rights.

A father stands the greatest chance of being granted his fathers rights in obtaining custody when he has been a consistent figure in the life of his children.  If he moved out of the home months before the divorce was legally filed and has not visited with his children since then, he will have a difficult time proving that he is entitled to much visitation.  Father Rights Movements around the world, and especially in the U.S, have helped dad’s get more custody rights than ever before. Courts give the parent-child bond heavy weight when making custody decisions.

Develop Ideas for a Parenting Plan in Advance
Parents should work out the details of the visitation agreement before finalizing their divorce and the Fathers Rights regarding Custody prior to a child being born from a non-marital relationship  (paternity).  It is complicated to change a visitation schedule so making alternate arrangements in advance is the best approach. Dad’s that want o spend more time with their children should explore options for weekday visits, summer vacation periods, and other holidays. Fathers should consult with legal assistance before agreeing to any proposed visitation schedule, because once a schedule is signed and entered in court, judges do not look kindly on people walking in claiming they did not understand the situation.

Some men who call themselves “fathers” are actually not biological parents. If the male is the only father that the children know, the judge will consider this when making the visitation decision. If there is a question of paternity, the male should pursue paternity testing. If this is not an issue, the male must prove that his presence will be beneficial to the lives of the children. With help from a family law attorney, the male can build a strong case.

Failure to determine visitation during divorce can affect the well being of the children and take an emotional toll on the parents. Family law attorneys regularly deal with a father’s visitation in divorce proceedings, helping to preserve the family unit.

Fathers Rights to Obtain Custody

A fathers rights to obtain custody or visitation during a divorce or a breakup with a significant other should not be withheld because the other parent wants to use the children as a weapon. During a divorce, spouses typically think only of themselves. If the family unit includes children, this can cause long-term damage – especially when a father’s visitation rights are denied. Parents who are divorcing must think about their children first. Scheduling child visitation during the divorce process is one of the most important decisions that parents can make. Children should be permitted to spend time with their mothers and fathers during this difficult time.  Often times a dad that is going through a divorce or a  breakup  believes he is not getting is Fathers Rights regarding the parenting time that he deserves should consult and get legal assistance.

I’m Not the Custodial / Residential Parent, What Does That Mean?
If you are not the custodial parent, it means that your children live for the majority of time with the other parent, called the custodial or residential parent. First, any parent that is not the custodial or residential parent should understand that it is not the end of the world. Child visitation rights are something that courts and judges want to grant to the non-custodial parent because they realize that it is important for each parent to have a significant presence in a child’s life.   There are many aspects that can affect how much time each parent spends with their child, but only an experienced family law attorney specializing in child visitation rights and child custody rights can let you know how your personal situation fits within the law. One of the most damaging pieces of evidence to a non-custodial parent in a child visitation battle is waiting too long to start. Judges that deal with parents that waited too long to start fighting for visitation rights ask the question, “how important is it to you if you waited this long to start fighting for your rights as a parent? Don’t get caught in that trap, get help now! And if you did wait a long time, because you may have hoped to work something out with the other parent and it hit the skids, don’t panic, it can be reversed and it can be fixed, but you cannot wait any longer to act – fight for your child visitation right immediately

Some things a court generally will take into account are:

• How long the non-custodial parent waited before fighting for their visitation rights
• Living conditions of the non-custodial parent’s home
• Whether the non-custodial parent has spent time with the child in the past
• Has the non-custodial parent had overnight time alone with the child
• Whether there has been any history of abuse by the non-custodial parent
• Geographical location of the non-custodial parent (out of state, 100 miles away, etc)
Some things a court will generally not take into account are:
• Whether the non-custodial parent has paid child support
• Whether the non-custodial parent is employed
• Whether the non-custodial parent is remarried

What It Means to Establish Parentage

If you are not married at the time the child is born,  parentage of their children need to be established legally.

Establishing parentage means obtaining a court order or signing an official Declaration of Paternity that says who the legal parents of a child are. For example, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. So even if a father can prove he is the biological father of a child, if he was never married to the mother, he does not legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child. For that, parentage must be established legally.

Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation, or child support will be ordered by a court. You can ask the judge for child support or custody and visitation orders as part of a case that establishes the child’s parentage.

If a person does not admit that he or she is the parent, the court may order the alleged father, mother, and child to submit to genetic testing.

Once a person is established as the father or mother of a child, he or she will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent:

He or she will be able to request custody and visitation orders from the court so that he or she can legally visit with his or her child.

This is  information provided on this page regarding Child Custody in California is directly sourced from the California Courts Judical Branch of California  and the calbar.ca.gov