Fathers Rights Attorney

Fathers Rights Attorney

Fathers Rights Attorney – Do you know dads are just as important in a child’s life as moms? Studies show that a father or father figure has a profound effect on a child’s upbringing and emotional development.  They’re not just capable caregivers, but also effective disciplinarians, and their involvement in a child’s life is key to how that child develops language, social skills, and even cognitively!

But here’s the thing: dads are sometimes overlooked or undervalued in the co-parenting process. That’s where a father’s rights attorney comes in!  As a fathers rights attorney,  I believe in upholding the rights of BOTH parents when it comes to co-parenting and visitation.  Because let’s face it, fathers have just as much right to see their children as mothers.  So if you’re a dad fighting for your parental rights, I’ve got your back!  Let’s work together to make sure you’re a part of your child’s life every step of the way!

Under California law, fathers have equal rights to their child.  As the dad, you’re not automatically left out in the cold with little to no rights when it comes to child custody or support.  Family Code Section 3020(b) states that both parents should have frequent and continuing contact with their child(ren).  The state encourages parents to share the obligations of child rearing.  So don’t assume that mom automatically gets primary custody – you have the right to fight for it too!  And you can also petition for child support from the mother based on the California guideline child support standards!  It’s all about what’s in the best interest of the child, and California laws are in place to help ensure that both parents have a role in their child’s life.

As a father, it’s important to secure your rights to frequent and regular contact with your child with a lawful court order. 

Joint legal custody means that both parents have the right to make important decisions about their child’s life and share information with each other.  This includes decisions related to their health, safety, education, and general welfare.  The California Family Code governs  joint and sole legal custody for parents and encourages them to share in the decision-making or decision-information process related to their child.  As a father, you have the right to be involved in every important aspect of your child’s life.

This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Decisions related to the child’s school and extra curricular activities.
  2. Decisions related to the child’s health, including doctor visits and medication.
  3. Decisions related to non-school related activities.
  4. Decisions related to the child’s religion or whether your child is without religion.
  5. Being listed on school and medical records and having the right to receive information related to your child.
  6. Decisions related to the child’s travel within the State of California, other states, or other countries, including where the child will live.

As a father, your right to joint legal custody should not be taken lightly. If the mother of your child violates a joint legal custody order by making decisions without your consent, you have options.  You can take legal action against her, including filing a California family law contempt of court action or requesting a modification of custody. In addition, you have the right to seek attorney fees if the mother has the ability to pay. It’s important to protect your rights as a father and ensure that you are involved in important decisions regarding your child’s life.

When it comes to physical custody of your child, it’s important to choose a schedule that allows for frequent contact with both parents. Don’t settle for being just an alternate weekend-dad if you have more availability to be with your child. It’s also crucial to take any violations of physical custody seriously. If your child’s mother is not following the court-ordered custody agreement, make sure to document the violations and request a change in writing. And if the mother refuses to cooperate, don’t hesitate to file a modification request or contempt action to protect your rights as a father. Remember, spending quality time with your child is important and you have every right to ensure that it happens.

I know the labels like “joint” or “primary physical custody” can be confusing, but what’s really important is having a legal agreement in place that protects your relationship with your child.  If you want to change a sole legal or physical custody order to a joint order, you’ll need to show a material change of circumstances since the last order. This means proving that you have more time to spend with your child, the mother is frustrating your visitation, or anything else that justifies a modification request.

But here’s a cool thing: if you’re just looking to increase your time without changing the labels of custody, you may not need to show a change.  In that case, the standard is simply the best interest of the child.  So, make sure you have a legal agreement that works for you and your child and don’t hesitate to make a modification request if necessary!

In respect to child support, dad’s are not the only parent required to pay them.  Mom’s may be ordered to pay child support too. 

In California, child support amounts are determined by guideline standards which have been established by law. These guidelines take into account various factors such as the income of both parents, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and other expenses related to the child’s care such as healthcare, child care, and education costs.  There are some limited exceptions to these guideline standards, but in general, the calculation is automated and based on a computer program that considers the relevant factors to generate the child support amount.

If the mother is the higher income earner, depending on the amount of time you spend with the child, you may have a right to child support.  If, however, you are the higher earner and required to pay child support, you still have rights. 

If the mother is refusing to work, you can request a court order to make a good faith effort to become employed. Both parents are responsible for providing financial support to their child. California Family Code 4053 outlines this explicitly — both parents have a responsibility to financially support the child. Accordingly, if the mother is refusing to work, you can request an imputation of income in the child support case.  Imputation of income is a legal process where the court assigns a specific income to a parent for the purpose of calculating child support, even if that parent’s actual income is lower.  It is typically used when a parent has the ability and opportunity to work but chooses not to or is underemployed.

That said, if you are behind on child support payments, you can ask the court for a payment plan to pay back what you owe.  It’s important to not stop paying child support even if you become unemployed, as this can lead to more trouble.  Instead, file a child support modification request with the help of a family law or fathers rights attorney.  If you have fallen behind on payments for several months, it’s crucial to ask the court for a payment plan and seek a modification if necessary and possible, with the help of an attorney.

NOTE: When a child is born to married parents, it’s assumed that the married couple are the child’s legal parents.  But when it comes to unmarried parents, things get a bit more complicated.  An unmarried father doesn’t legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child, until parentage is established legally – including custody, visitation, or child support.  To establish parentage, you need to get a court order or sign an official declaration of parentage or paternity. 

If there is a dispute over a child’s parentage and the father denies that he is the biological father, the court can order genetic testing to establish paternity.  In this case, the court may order the mother, child, and alleged father to take a DNA test to determine whether or not the alleged father is indeed the biological father of the child. The results of the test can then be used to establish paternity, which can have legal implications such as child support, custody, and visitation.

When unmarried parents sign a declaration of parentage or paternity, it legally establishes them as the child’s parents. This process is voluntary and can be done at the hospital when the child is born or later on. If not signed at the hospital, the declaration must be signed at a public agency (i.e. local child support agency, registrar of births, family law facilitator at your local superior court, or welfare office) or by a notary public.  Once the signed declaration is filed with the court, the judge can make custody, visitation, and support orders.

To learn more, schedule a consultation.

Every child deserves a loving and involved father in their life.  If you’re being denied access to your kids, don’t give up hope!  I’ve helped countless fathers in California assert their rights and win custody battles.  You have rights too!