In matters of child custody rights in California, judges, mediators and attorneys often speak of “the best interest of the child.” When parents come to the negotiating table, each may have a different view of what is “best” for their child. Although both sides are encouraged to reach an amicable solution on their own or through court-sponsored mediation, the court will take over in cases where the parties cannot agree on the details of custody and visitation.
California law dictates that mothers and fathers have equal rights to raise their child. Time spent with the child, however, may not be equal under the terms of the agreement, and traditionally, fathers have not been granted as much time as mothers by the court. The long-held bias that favors mothers over fathers is rooted in the old-fashioned notion that a child needs its mother more than its father.
Although this perception has changed over time to recognize that a father’s influence in the child’s life is equally important, judges may be persuaded to resurrect the old bias simply from the father’s behavior and lifestyle choices, such as:
- uneven temperament or yelling
- cohabitation with a girlfriend; confusing the children with a new relationship too quickly
- criticizing the mother or undermining her to family and friends
- attempts to alienate the child from the mother, including not permitting the child to talk to the mother during the father’s visitation time
- any travel which could be misconstrued as attempted kidnapping,
In order to achieve the best chance at a liberal child custody arrangement, fathers may have to guard their behavior and lifestyle choices more closely than mothers.
If you have any questions about custody matters or fathers' rights, an experienced family law attorney can help.
Experienced Sacramento Family Law Attorney Hal Bartholomew can help you navigate your divorce and child custody issues with respect and compassion. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 546-4393 or email us at info@DivorceWithRespect.com.