Ventura, CA Child Custody Attorney for Fathers
There is a common perception that courts prefer mothers when granting child custody and that fathers have an uphill battle to get access to their kids and participation in their children’s lives. In many cases, you can fight against these presumptions and keep or gain custody of your children.
If you are a father going through a divorce or custody dispute, talk to the Ventura child support attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing fathers in custody hearings and working to help them keep custody. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online today or call us at (805) 643-5555.
Do Courts Give Mothers Preference for Child Custody?
There is a common misconception that courts automatically give child custody to the mother in a custody battle. This is based on traditional family setups where a mother was a stay-at-home mother and the father was the primary worker in the family. In this setup, courts often find that mothers have more time and availability to care for children, so they tend to award mothers primary custody of the children, giving fathers parenting time on weekends or holidays. However, this is not the default situation and may not be the automatic outcome in your divorce or separation case.
In many families, both parents work and have jobs and responsibilities outside of their children. Courts should primarily look at factors like time availability, sources for childcare outside the parents (e.g., babysitters, grandparents, other family), and the parent’s ability to support children while working. Courts should weigh these and other important factors before making any child custody decisions.
Any California court that automatically gives child custody to the mother without considering the father’s rights or looking at the relevant factors is not properly addressing the facts of the case at hand, and you should hire an attorney to represent you and fight for your parental rights.
How Do Courts Decide Custody Cases?
When a court looks at the relevant factors, they make multiple decisions about different types of custody that you may receive. First, you will usually receive legal custody – which is the right to make decisions in your child’s life, such as decisions about health care, education, religion, and other far-reaching subjects. Second, you may receive physical custody – which is the right to have your child live with you in your house. In most cases, you cannot have physical custody without legal custody, but you can have legal custody by itself and have no rights to have your children live with you.
Courts in California aim to award “joint custody” whenever possible. This means that both parents stay in the children’s lives and participate in raising them. Whenever both parents are willing and able to be parents, the court should allow them that right. That commonly means both parents have legal custody and can participate in decisions. It also means both parents share physical custody and trade off throughout the year, possibly sharing custody on alternating weekends, alternating weeks, or with summers and holidays as the primary times children stay with the other parent.
When awarding joint custody, the division of parenting time is often decided by the parents’ schedules and obligations. For instance, if one parent works during the week, it may be best to give them parenting time on the weekends. Alternatively, if one parent is a teacher, they would be free during the summers, and scheduling their parenting time then could be the best situation.
If a parent is unfit to have the child in their household, they may be stripped of physical custody. A household with safety concerns, other adults with a history of crime or drug use, or even a house that is too far away from the other parent may make having children live there a concern. If you yourself have problems that call your ability to parent into question, such as a criminal history, a substance abuse issue, or a history of domestic violence, you could lose physical custody. Courts may revoke physical custody rights, potentially leaving you with no physical access or supervised visitation only.
If you have more serious issues and the court sees you as an unfit parent, you may lose all custody rights. In this situation, you may need to spend time in rehabilitation, finding a job, or removing other obstacles from your life before you can prove to the court that you are a fit parent and have your custody rights restored. Talk to an attorney today if you lost custody of your children and want to fight to have your parental rights restored.
Keep in mind that, no matter what decision the court makes on child custody, child support is a separate issue, and you may need to pay child support even if you lost custody of your kids.
California Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers
For help with your custody dispute, contact the Ventura child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our attorneys represent fathers throughout the Ventura area in their child custody hearings and fight to protect their parental rights and look out for the best interests of their children. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, contact us online or call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.