For years, mothers received preferential treatment in child custody cases – this is how it was all across the country. In light of that, it’s understandable why so many fathers recall children of divorced parents living with their mothers when they were growing up.
However, many of today’s dads fail to realize that a lot has changed since the 1980s and 1990s. Too many fathers are unaware of the fact that they have the same rights as their wife in child custody cases. The California courts are gender neutral and no longer assume that the mother should be the one to have custody of a couple’s children.
In the past, the family courts were definitely biased against fathers in child custody cases, but today, you’d have a hard time finding a family court that gave preferential treatment to mothers, especially in California.
Protecting Your Father’s Rights
Still remembering the “way it was” decades ago, a common mistake fathers make is surrendering their child custody rights to their wives during a divorce. Deeply regretting their decisions, they’ll come to us seeing if we can fix it. While we can often find a way, it’s better to learn from other fathers’ mistakes instead of making your own.
The system is no longer biased against dads, and this is progress.If other dads told you that you don’t stand a chance to obtain joint physical and legal custody, they’re more than likely operating off of outdated information.
Fortunately, as long as there is no recent history of abandonment, substance abuse, or domestic violence, and you love your children and want as much time with them as possible, you have a far better chance of achieving your goals today, than you would if it were 20 or 30 years ago.
If your wife has been a stay-at-home mother and you have young children at home and you’ve been the breadwinner, it may be difficult for you to get 50% custody until the children are older. In these cases, we recommend asking the court for increasingly more parenting time once they reach school-age.
Remember, whenever there’s a significant change in circumstances; for example, your former spouse goes back to work or your kids become teenagers and want to spend more time at your place, you can always ask the court to modify the child custody order so it increases the time you have with your kids.
Looking for a San Diego family attorney? Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.