Although mothers traditionally are favored by the U.S. court system when it comes to child custody, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to give up or not try your hardest to have equal parenting rights. With a little help, you can take control of your custody proceedings and keep your children in your life, even if there are irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a variety of issues surrounding child custody so that you’re more prepared when the time comes to fight for your rights.
We’re going to start with the exceptions to the rules. When it comes to child custody, there are certain situations where you can lose your kids.
Child Abuse or Neglect
If a social worker responds to a complaint or incident at your home wherein you are found to be neglectful or abusive to your child, or you foster a neglectful or abusive environment, your child will be taken away and placed either with your spouse (if you live separately) or in a foster home.
You could be forced to spend time with your child under supervision of a social worker.
However, though you lose your custodial rights temporarily, California has designed the system to give you a chance to turn around and clean up your act. In order to get a good legal perspective on what you need to do to prove to the courts that you are able to care for a child, contact a knowledgeable fathers’ rights lawyer.
Understanding Child Custody for Fathers
If you are found by a social worker or the legal system to be struggling with addiction, you may also lose your custodial rights. Since many addictions lead to neglect or abuse of children (even unintentionally), your kids will usually be placed in foster care or with your spouse until you undergo rehabilitation. Speak with our lawyers to learn what it will take for you to overcome your personal adversity to get custody again.
Child Custody is a Privilege—and a Right
Now that we’ve covered some instances where the courts could take your kids away and place them in full custody of your spouse, we can take a look at the other side of the coin.
These days, the courts still lean favorably toward women, despite the fact that men are seeing a more increased role in parenting on a societal level. As more women enter the workforce, they can no longer argue that they will be able to give the child the most comfortable home life (on your alimony payment).
The solution, then, is to construct a comprehensive parenting plan with the help of a lawyer and a trained child psychologist. In California, your parenting plan describes how you will split time between spouses, how you will make decisions that involve their education and health, as well as any other details you wish to include. Once you, your spouse, and the presiding judge sign that document, it will be filed as a court order. Then it’s binding.
This is why it’s incredibly important that as a father, you find the right legal help from the get-go. If you don’t have adequate representation, you could end up signing a parenting plan that works in favor of your spouse—and leaves you with fewer rights than you want.
Paying Child Support
There are times when you may have to pay child support to your spouse, even if you share split custody of your children. Depending on how your lawyers set up your custody agreement, you could end up paying alimony if you earn a higher salary or have a gross income higher than your spouse.
Also, if you were incarcerated and were served with a child support payment while you were in jail (or before), you may owe an extraordinary amount of back pay. Interest does accrue on these payments, so the longer you wait to pay the more you’ll owe in the end.
Losing Your Custody Without Cause
There are even times when the California courts can terminate your parental rights. If your spouse has already given up her rights to your child, the courts could (not will) free your child up for adoption by terminating your parental rights as well.
There are so many different scenarios and stipulations surrounding child custody in California, especially for fathers. But you can grab hold of your rights as a dad and fight for custody of your kids with the help from our dedicated team of lawyers. We’re dads too, and we know what you’re going through.