Fathers’ Rights Attorney Referral Service
The end of a marriage can be emotionally difficult for couples and their children, particularly when child custody is an issue. Child custody refers to the rights and duties between parents on matters pertaining to the care of their children.
Ideally, a separating couple should be able to determine for themselves who their children will live with, and details on how the children will spend time with each parent. When parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan for their child, a family court may decide the issue of child custody for them.
In the San Fernando Valley, California, both mother and father are entitled to custody over their minor child or children. When one parent dies, abandons or refuses to take child custody, the other parent is entitled to sole custody. But when divorcing couples present the issue of child custody before the family court, the judge will issue a custody order based on the best interests of the child.
Does the State of California have special obligations for Fathers who want full custody?
Fathers and mothers are equally situated in California family laws relating to child custody. Provisions of the California Family Code neither establish a preference for mothers nor consider the parent’s gender in determining full custody. The ‘best interest of the child’ is the paramount criterion and it involves a consideration of various factors such as:
- The age of the child
- Health of the child
- The child’s safety and welfare
- Emotional ties between the child and parents
- History of domestic violence or substance abuse of the parents
- Child’s ties to home, school and the community
The law does not distinguish between a father and mother when it imposes obligations on the parent who is granted full custody. As the custodial parent, you have the duty to:
- Take care of the child
- Allow the child to maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent
- Follow visitation orders
- When ordered by the court, to notify the non-custodial parent of changes in residence before the actual move or transfer
How can I get visitation rights to my child?
Visitation refers to the amount of time that a non-custodial parent can spend with the child. You and your spouse or co-parent may create a parenting plan containing a visitation schedule and details of how each parent will perform their respective responsibilities to the child.
The parenting agreement can be a general one or a more specific arrangement with schedules for weekdays, weekends, holidays, birthdays and other occasions when the child is expected to be with either parent.
If you are unable to agree on a visitation agreement or parenting plan, the court will refer you and your co-parent to a mediator. If mediation proceedings fail to result in a mutually acceptable parenting agreement, the court will decide for you based on the ‘best interest of the child’.
A parenting plan that is approved in court will form part of a court order that may be enforced through legal action when a party violates any of its terms.
How can an attorney help?
Custody and visitation issues are often hotly contested in divorce and separation cases. When the court issues a judgment incorporating a parenting agreement or deciding custody and visitation issues for the parties, both parents are bound by its terms until it is modified in court.
The court may also enforce a custody order when one party fails to obey its terms. A family law attorney can help sort your family law issues, provide information about your rights, offer legal advice, help create appropriate parenting plans and pursue fathers’ rights in court.
In San Fernando Valley, California, residents can easily find a family lawyer in the privacy and comfort of their homes through an online lawyer referral system. The SFVBA online referral system connects qualified and experienced family lawyers with parents pursuing fathers’ rights.