It is no secret that family law courts can be challenging for men, especially when it comes to child custody. Studies show between 75%-90% of parents given sole or primary custody are women. But, do not fret, there is starting to be a major shift in family law courts nationwide as more and more research shoes equal and shared parenting is typically what is best for children. Regardless of this reassuring shift, a bias is very much still present and many men find themselves in what seems like an uphill battle with their cases. If you are going through a divorce or custody battle, it is important to know your rights and develop the best strategies for your situation. The top two jobs for any attorney representing fathers should be developing a custom strategy given the situation and preventing the father from making preventable mistakes.
1.Choose the Right Lawyer for YOU
This seems like it should be common sense, but many men wind up losing in the courtroom because they picked the wrong lawyer. The possibility of getting an old-fashioned judge means that it is important for men to pick a divorce or child custody attorney who knows how to effectively advocate for men. Choosing a men-only family law attorney may give you the edge you need to win your case.
2. Pursue Child Custody and Parenting Time Right Away
One of the most common questions fathers ask me is if they should “put themselves on child support”. The answer to this question is that you should file and pursue child custody and child support will be handled alongside all the other issues in a divorce or child custody case
3. Do Not Settle Out of Fear
Men often settle for less time with their children than they would like under the mistaken belief that judges are likely to award primary custody to the mother. I speak with men weakly who have agreed to really bad custody agreements that limit their time with children to only hours a month out of fear of getting nothing. However, that simply is not accurate anymore in California. When men pursue it, California Family Law Courts often award joint child custody or at minimum give fathers an opportunity to be active participants in their children’s lives. Gone are the days of every-other-weekend dads. Family law has evolved to place value on successful co-parenting and encouraging both parents to be as involved in their children’s lives as possible.
4. Stay Involved in Your Children’s Lives
While you may need to adjust to not being around your children daily, it is also necessary to maintain a presence in their lives. You do not want to give the court any reason to believe you are uninterested in your children or their wellbeing. Continuing to give them both emotional and financial support is imperative during this time.
Furthermore, If you are the custodial parent during a separation or divorce, it is important that you do not restrict your ex-wife from visiting the children. Unfairly restricting her access without a court order will only hurt you in your divorce or child custody proceedings. Your goal should be to co-parenting to the best of your abilities. The best action you can take is to demonstrate that your children’s well being is the most important matter to you and that you support their relationship with their mother.
5. Avoid Emotional Responses
If your situation has turned nasty, do not lash out on your ex. If she is behaving irrationally or angrily, all you can do is refuse to engage with her. At all costs necessary, avoid participating in any petty or vengeful behaviors. This can easily be spun into evidence of instability, even if you feel you were pushed to it. There is also a good chance your emotional response is twisted into domestic violence allegations, which can severely damage your chance at custody. Instead, disengage and document her behavior. If you can show that she is the irrational one and you have behaved calmly and responsibly, it will only help you in your divorce and child custody proceedings.
If you find yourself in a divorce or child custody proceeding in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino counties or Greater Southern California, call “The Fathers Rights Attorney” at 951-223-1058 today.