Santa Barbara Child Custody Attorney for Fathers
Many fathers feel that there is an inherent bias against them in the child custody system. Thousands of child custody cases are decided each year in California with the mother gaining primary custody and the father having reduced access to their children and being ordered to pay child support. If you are a father seeking custody of your child, our attorneys can help you overcome the fear of this kind of bias and fight to have you keep your children or take back child custody and visitation rights.
For a free consultation on your child custody case, call the Santa Barbara child custody attorneys for fathers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our lawyers represent fathers in child custody disputes, working to get them physical and legal custody rights to better their relationship with their kids. For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
A Father’s Rights in Child Custody Disputes
Fathers and mothers have equal access to child custody rights under the law in California. The court often makes decisions about which parent should have custody of the children, but the law states that this decision should not be based on the parent’s gender or sex. Instead, these decisions are to be made based on the child’s best interests.
Typically, child custody decisions involve two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Courts generally give both parents legal custody, which is the right to make decisions in your child’s life. Even if the child does not live with you, legal custody gives you the right to help decide what school they go to, what religion they can practice, what healthcare options they are permitted to undergo, and other issues that broadly affect their lives. Physical custody, on the other hand, is the right to have your child live with you. If you are denied physical custody, you may be able to seek visitation to spend more time with your children.
Courts tend to award joint custody in cases where both parents are willing and able to be parents. However, the court is not always able to give parents a 50/50 parenting time split. If one parent works throughout most of the day and the other parent stays at home, the court might prefer to give primary custody to the stay-at-home parent since the working parent will be unable to be home for the kids. However, if both parents work or your child care can be supplemented with care from your partner, your parents, or other family members or nannies, then the court may be able to award you a greater custody split – perhaps giving you more parenting time than the children’s mother.
Paternity and Child Custody in California
One of the first steps toward gaining custody of your children might be proving you are their father in the first place. Many situations can result in questionable parentage and require additional steps to prove you are the child’s father, particularly if the child is born out of wedlock or after infidelity.
California law generally assumes that the mother’s spouse is her child’s parent and allows the spouse to put their name on the birth certificate. This means that even if you get divorced soon after the child’s birth or the mother dies soon after birth, you should still be able to claim custody of your child over anyone else’s custody claims. However, if the mother had a child with you while she was married to someone else or neither you nor the mother was married when the child was born, paternity can be more complex.
The biological mother and father of the child can form a declaration of paternity by signing the proper paperwork when the baby is born. This should allow you to have your name put on the birth certificate and should support a claim for child custody.
If there are further doubts that you are the child’s father or someone else was declared the father by mistake, our attorneys can help you sue for paternity and prove that you deserve to have your name put on the child’s birth certificate and sue for child custody.
Losing Child Custody in California
As mentioned, courts should typically give joint custody to parents who are willing and able to participate in raising their children. When custody disputes happen, courts will sometimes strip a parent of child custody if they are proven unfit to parent.
Courts rarely remove legal custody from parents unless they have been proven a significant detriment to the child’s health and safety. Parents who are physically unavailable to care for the child because of severe illness, incarceration, or other complications may be stripped of physical custody but be allowed to keep the right to make legal decisions.
Typically, you cannot be stripped of custody rights without a hearing. Our lawyers can fight for you in your case to help you keep custody. If you cannot keep custody, our lawyers can fight to get you visitation rights or help you regain custody down the road.
Child Custody Attorneys Offering Free Consultations for Fathers in Santa Barbara
If you are a father in the Santa Barbara area seeking custody of your children, talk to our Santa Barbara child custody attorneys for fathers. The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth’s attorneys represent fathers in custody and support battles to get them increased parenting time, visitation rights, and restored child custody. For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our attorneys today at (805) 643-5555.