Legal Rights of Fathers in California

Every child deserves a close relationship with loving parents, even if those parents aren’t living together. In California, the law presumes that fathers and mothers all have equal parenting rights. Historically, however, mothers have been granted primary physical custody far more frequently than fathers. Since fathers are often the underdog in a custody case, it’s essential that they secure the services of a seasoned family law attorney with experience representing fathers.

The Right to Establish Paternity

The law assumes that a man is the father if he is married to the mother when the child is born. If the relationship is a domestic partnership, the couple can sign the necessary paperwork at the hospital to declare the man as the father. Even if neither of these situations apply, men still have the right to establish paternity through the courts.

The Right to Seek Custody

Just like mothers, fathers in California have the right to seek custody of their children. Depending on the circumstances, a father might file for sole or joint physical or legal custody—or both. If you plan to file for custody, pay close attention to any advice your lawyer gives you. He or she can let you know about the mistakes that might sabotage your case, as well as what you can do to improve your chances of obtaining custody.

The Right to Seek Child Support

If you are granted sole or joint primary physical custody of your children, you have the right to request child support from their mother and vice versa. Your family law attorney will file the necessary paperwork for you, and answer any questions you may have about the enforcement of the support order.

The Right to Seek Visitation

If you do not receive joint custody and the mother’s home is the child’s primary residence, you have the right to seek visitation with your children. California courts recognize parenting time plans, which are documents that specify exactly when a child will be with either parent.

Singer & Associates is a family law practice serving Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas. We’re dedicated to effectively advocating on behalf of fathers and their children. Call (916) 922-5985 to request a consult, and hear how you can exercise your legal rights for the sake of your kids.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Singer & Associate Law Office, or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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