Protecting Fathers’ Custody Rights
It has been the center’s experience that while parenting opportunities for fathers have significantly expanded over the past five (5) years as more and more mothers enter the work force, the best and happiest parenting plans evolve between the separated parents after the divorce has been finalized.
When there is disagreement about child custody and visitation, it is mandatory that the case be set for mediation prior to the court hearing. FRLC encourages professional preparation for clients to best present their parenting plan to the family mediators employed by the Superior Court. The mediator’s initial custody recommendation is made when parents are unable to agree to a custody plan; the court tends to ‘rubber-stamp’ the recommendation, and it becomes critical to all custody orders. If no agreement is reached, a recommendation will be made by the court counselor and the court hearing will proceed. If an agreement is reached the hearing may be cancelled.
One aspect of the FRLC program that has proved helpful for clients when initiating joint custodial parenting plans acceptable to the court has been FRLC’s immediate involvement of prominent child psychologists for clients before the first court appearance to help the father prepare a reasonable parenting plan consistent with family history and needs. FRLC director Peter Mueller helps clientele with obtaining balanced and equitable custody sharing arrangements by involving experts of all types to assist in the case.
The Court Steps in to Help the Children
California courts attempt to protect minor children during the divorce process and to lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. When spouses are not in agreement about custody of the children, the court establishes custody that is in the best interests of the child(ren). The court establishes the custody order after taking into consideration many factors, including the health, safety, and welfare of the child; mental and physical health of the parents, history of abuse by either parent or new partners, siblings, relatives, etc.; the nature and amount of contact with each parent; and use of alcohol or drugs by either parent.
Types of Custody Arrangements
In the past, mothers were granted sole custody more often than fathers, but now mothers are not automatically given custody as in the past. The FRLC works with fathers who desire sole custody or joint custody because they wish to be involved with their children’s lives. While custody is not right for every father, our firm strongly believes that every father should have an equal right to custody.
Joint custody: parents share physical and legal custody.
Sole physical custody: the child lives with and is under the supervision of one parent. The other parent may often have visitation.
Joint physical custody: each parent has significant periods of physical custody.
Sole legal custody: one parent has the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
Joint legal custody: both parents share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions concerning the health, education and welfare of the child.
How to Get Legal Help
Agreeing on a custody arrangement can be the most trying part of the divorce process. The Father’s Rights Law Center is committed to assisting fathers who want an equal right to custody. Our firm provides a free, no-obligation initial consultation during which we can explain the process and review your individual circumstances. Because our firm is focused upon father’s rights, we possess a high level of expertise that is beneficial to fathers and husbands facing divorce in San Diego and North County. To speak to our law firm directly, please call 1-800-4-LAW-HELP or fill out the form at the right to request a consultation. We look forward to helping you.