Fathers and Children: Determining Custody Arrangements

Family law courts used to favor mothers undeniably when it came to decided child custody placement upon divorce. Since the 1970s however, courts changed their ruling basis to be in the best interest of the children. Even with that standard set in place, the mother will generally gain primary custody of the children in about 70% of divorce cases. Even still, fathers are gaining more custody rights; however, the courts do look at more than just the gender of the parent when deciding child custody.

When preparing for an impending divorce, it is important to get as much information to gain a better understanding of the process and all possibilities. To break the rights down to their bare basics, father’s have as much of a right to their child as the mother. There is no one-parent-is-better-than-the-other ruling, even if sometimes it may feel that way. There are a lot of nuances and circumstances that the courts will consider when it comes to determining who will get custody of the children.

Factors in Determining Child Custody

Whether you are the one bringing home the main income or not, the courts will largely look to keep as much normalcy in the children’s lives as they can. The courts will look at who was primarily in charge of taking care of the children on a daily basis, who got them ready for school, who made sure they were fed and they did their homework, and who was involved in their hobbies and activities. That parent is generally who the courts will try to place care of the children with, unless there is substantial proof that that parent is unfit to take on that responsibility.

If a father can prove that he is both financially able to take care of the children, while physically being able to be there to take care of and support the children, there are higher chances of him gaining custody of the children. It is important to speak to a divorce attorney early on to be able to prepare yourself for what may come.

According to California divorce laws, you are required to sit in a court ordered mediation prior to the judge hearing your case. During this time, both parents are able to discuss and potentially work out and custody issues or concerns they have.  If no agreements can be reached during the mediation, the appointed mediator will make certain recommendations based on the sessions. Some divorce attorneys will shove off this mediation, but it can be very beneficial in the long run. Both parents are able to present their case, and potentially create a custody agreement that both can leave satisfied with, versus an order demanded by a stranger.

When it comes to determining child custody, there are no clear winners. In an ideal situation both parents will remain fully active in their children’s life, while remaining civil to each other. Going into your divorce expecting to get rid of your spouse and cut them out of your children’s lives is not the approach to take. Father’s have gained tremendous ground in being rewarded custody over mothers, but it is important to remember that no one parent is seen as better than the other. It is about determining the best possible solution for the children.

Whatever the outcome ends up, it is important for fathers to understand that they do have the same rights to their children as mothers do. Talking to an experienced and qualified divorce attorney will help any father prepare for a more fair child custody ruling that includes them in their children’s lives.