As a father, you have a right to care for and spend quality time with your child. While mothers were historically favored as the primary caregivers, California law now supports both parents playing a significant role in their children’s lives.
If you are a father facing a custody dispute, let an experienced family law attorney assist you. A Thousand Oaks fathers’ rights lawyer could help you establish paternity, assert your visitation rights, and more.
Paternity issues generally arise with parents who were not married at the time of the child’s birth. In those cases, the child does not automatically have a legal father. A man who believes he is the child’s father does not have any right to contact his child until paternity is legally established through DNA testing. Establishing paternity is crucial in custody and visitation cases, which is why it is beneficial for fathers to work with a skilled Thousand Oaks attorney throughout the DNA testing process.
Under state law, both parents have equal rights to custody and visitation with their child. When making custody determinations, state judges are not permitted to give preference to one parent over the other. Instead, they must base their decisions on the child’s best interest. Under this standard, the involvement of both parents is preferred unless one parent is a threat to a child’s well-being.
When a judge is determining custody, they will look closely at the relationship between child and parent. As such, a father must demonstrate his involvement in his child’s life. This involvement may include physical time with the child, such as spending overnights, weekends, and holidays with the child, and financial support, such as paying for the child’s sports activities and providing health insurance coverage. A fathers’ rights lawyer experienced in family law cases can help a father protect his right to spend time with his child.
Under California Family Code §3900, each parent has an equal responsibility to financially support their child. When determining support, state judges must follow specific guidelines and consider factors such as:
To calculate a parent’s support obligation, a court must determine each parent’s gross income, which is the total amount a parent earns in one year before taxes. Gross income may include salary, commissions, rental income, social security and disability benefits, and business income. After taking the income into consideration, a judge then deducts taxes, some employment-related expenses, and certain other obligations to determine a parent’s net income.
Because the calculation of gross and net incomes can significantly impact a final child support order, all income sources and deductions for both parents must be considered, not just those of the father. A seasoned attorney could help ensure that all relevant information is presented to a judge on the father’s behalf.
Even though child custody laws have changed, and fathers now have equal rights and obligations regarding their children, many fathers find that protecting those rights can be an uphill battle. If your children are being withheld from you, or you need help establishing paternity or fighting for child support, contact a skilled Thousand Oak’s fathers’ rights lawyer today.