In determining a child's best interests, the California Family Code only lays out two guiding principals:
The health, safety, and welfare of children must be a court's primary concern, and
Children benefit from frequent and continuing contact with both parents
So, Knowing that, What are Steps Fathers Need to Take to Win in Family Law Court?
1.Be active with your child's education and extracurricular activities. Regardless of whether you have your children, you must stay involved in their life. Attend parent/teacher conferences, go to their sporting games, support them at their music recitals. Being proactive about these issues shows the judges that you are supportive of your child.
2. Collaborate with your co-parent. Courts recognize and praise parents who show a willingness to work together to raise their children. Although this is essentially basic co-parenting, we have seen parents lose custody because they were unwilling to work together. You need to show the family court that you are willing to do this, even if it's difficult, for the benefit of your child.
3. Give them their own space in your home. Be sure to have all the essentials that your child needs in your home, including clothes, toiletries, toys, and bedding. You don't want them to be living out of a suitcase uncomfortably. That way, your child feels like your home is their home too.
4. Exercise your parental rights. Make sure you exercise your parental rights, especially if you've been granted visitation rights with your child. Spend as much time with them as you can. If you aren't even exercising the time you have now, the court will not give you more if you try to modify child custody.
5. Support your co-parent's relationship with your child. Sadly, we have seen parents try to sabotage their child's relationship with the other parent in an effort to win custody. This is not the right way to go about it and will result badly if the courts uncover your actions. Respect your co-parent's time and encourage a healthy relationship between them and your child. In the end, it is in their best interest to have a relationship with both parents.
6. Make a good impression in court. Child custody disputes are adversarial in nature, and one of the hardest things to do in a battle is to remain level headed (And remember you may be held at a different standard than your ex wife or girlfriend). Do everything you can to present yourself as a competent, involved, and loving parent. You should arrive on time, dress appropriately, and demonstrate proper courtroom etiquette in front of the judge. If you can't even keep it together when a judge or mediator is watching, it could show that you are not likely to stay calm when you are alone with your child.
Child Custody disputes are extremely emotional and nothing guarantees an outcome in California Family Law Courts, but following these 6 steps can greatly improve your likelihood of success in California Family Law Courts.
If you live in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino Counties, or Greater Southern California and you find yourself in a child custody dispute, give "The Fathers Rights Attorney" a call and put the Team at Reel Fathers Rights on your side.