Call us today


Father's Rights in California

California family courts have been accused of protecting mothers’ rights at the expense of fathers’ rights. This has made child custody issues a nightmare for fathers. Since fathers’ rights are not openly discussed, most fathers do not know their rights or how to protect them. Some fathers even believe that they do not have any rights. The truth is that a father’s rights in California are the same as a mother’s. Thus, if you are going through separation or divorce, it is vital to understand your rights to protect yourself and your children throughout all legal processes.

Paternity for unmarried fathers and divorce for the married should not be a doomsday scenario for one partner. Being a dad does not make you a lesser parent to your child, mainly if you provide for your family. Like the mother, you also have the right to custody, visitation, and spousal support. It helps to know that you can protect your parental rights as a dad when needed. For more information, questions, or assistance in fighting for your father’s rights, you should talk to an experienced divorce attorney.

Father’s Rights to Joint Custody

A child needs a stable home and the support of both parents to grow healthy and develop well in all aspects of life, including physical, emotional, and mental. However, there is usually no guarantee that two parents will live together forever, raising their children in one happy family. Issues like divorce can arise midway, causing a family to disintegrate. When that happens, parents should know they must raise a healthy child, regardless of their situation. That is why the law advocates for joint custody in divorce cases.

Joint custody means the mother and father must share equal responsibility for raising their children. They must share information regarding their child and make mutual decisions instead of one party making crucial decisions in the child’s life. The mother and father must share information and make decisions about their child's safety, education, health, and general well-being. It means putting aside your differences with your partner to focus on your child's welfare.

Family law prefers joint custody. Judges prefer having parents share custody in raising and making decisions about their children. As a dad, you enjoy equal rights as a mother, including full involvement in every area of your child’s life. Your rights to legal joint custody as a dad include the following:

  • Rights to decide the school activities your child will be involved in.
  • Rights to make decisions regarding your child’s health, including the medication they take and the doctors they visit.
  • Rights to decide out-of-school activities your child will engage in.
  • Rights to determine the religion your child will follow or if your child will grow up without a religion.
  • The right to be listed on medical and school records as the person to obtain information regarding your child.
  • The right to decide when and where your child travels, including where they live.

Your parental joint custody rights as a dad are severe and should not be taken lightly. If your partner makes a crucial decision regarding your child without your consent or input, they will have violated your rights. In that case, you can take action against them, including seeking a court directive against them. You can request that the court modify the custody issue if the violation continues. Remember that you can compel the mother to cover your legal fees if you cannot afford it and the mother is financially able to pay.

Fathers’ Rights to Physical Custody and Time with Children

Your right to physical custody must be attached to any court order you receive regarding your children. You have joint custody if you spend significant time with your child or children. But that does not mean losing custody of your child if you cannot spend enough one-on-one time with them. Some fathers do not spend much time with their children but are entirely involved in their children’s lives, for example, by paying child support and making crucial decisions regarding their children. That involvement should be relevant when considering and awarding physical custody.

When awarding custody, family court judges grant sole or joint custody. Some judges give primary custody, while others leave the custody matter out entirely. But the truth is, parents have the right to spend time with their children, regardless of the underlying situation. You have a right to regular and physical contact with the children. Parents do not have to focus more on whether they have joint, primary, or sole custody. Ensure that the court order you receive protects your right to regular and frequent contact with the child.

Child custody issues have many schedules for parents. These schedules promote regular and frequent contact between parents and their children. The time you must spend with your child must be dictated by the time you have to spare for your child. Thus, do not be quick to accept a schedule that does not allow significant time with your loved one. For example, it could be challenging for a working father to handle an equal timeshare with a stay-at-home mother. But you do not have to accept something less than it if you agree with the mother about what is best for your children. Choose a schedule that allows you maximum time with your loved one.

Your parental rights to physical custody and time with your child are crucial. No one should violate those rights. If you agree to a parenting schedule with the mother and the court issues an order on how much time you must spend with your child, you can take legal action if someone violates your rights. For example, if the mother violates your rights by failing to hand the child over to you when they should, you can do the following:

  • Gather evidence by documenting the violations.
  • Send a message to the mother, requesting that she abide by the court order. Let her confirm receiving your request and her agreement by writing back to you.
  • If she disregards your physical custody rights, you can file a modification request with the court or petition the court to take action against her for contempt.

You can seek the advice and guidance of a skilled divorce attorney to understand your options and improve your chances of success.

How to Handle False Allegations/Parental Alienation

Sometimes, ex-partners use foul play to cover up custody rights violations. For example, the mother can falsely accuse you of child abuse or domestic violence to overturn a court ruling and receive sole custody rights for your child. Or, they could blatantly alienate you from your child. In situations like these, you must remember your father’s rights. Speak to your attorney and devise strategies to remedy the situation together. For example, your attorney and the mother’s attorney can discuss the matter to try and solve it out of court. But if the mother continues to engage in parental alienation, you must seek the court’s help to modify the child custody order.

The Rights of a Single Father

A father’s rights remain the same, whether you are single or married. They include the right to see, spend quality and adequate time with, and care for your child. You must be fully involved in bringing up your child. That means you can make decisions in all aspects of your child’s life. Your rights do not diminish if you are no longer in love with the mother. The law does not view you differently if you are a single dad. In that case, you must fight for your rights and take action if anyone violates them.

The Rights of a Divorced Father

Remember that a divorced father is still a father in the eyes of the law. It means that your father’s rights remain the same, regardless of your circumstances. However, you must learn to protect yourself if you lose custody of your child in a divorce.

A divorce is a complicated matter for the parties involved and their families. People make grave and regrettable mistakes during divorce. Some of these mistakes cost parents a lot, including custody and visitation rights for their children. That is why custody orders in divorce cases are usually not permanent. The judge can modify them whenever there is new evidence and a valid reason for modification.

If you made a mistake during or before divorce that caused you to lose your custody and/or visitation rights, you can petition the court to change the ruling to a joint custody order. But you must demonstrate that the circumstances have changed since the court issued the latest order. You can do that with the help of a skilled divorce attorney. For example, if you now have more time for your child than you had during the divorce or the mother is violating your physical custody rights, your attorney will advise you on the best approach to compel the court to modify the custody order.

Losing your custody rights after a divorce does not mean losing your parental rights entirely. You can restore your rights or apply to increase the time you need with your child. Remember that family law always considers the child’s best interests.

The Rights of a Father of an Unborn Child

Not much thought is given to an unborn baby as far as their father’s rights are concerned. But the father of an unborn baby has rights under the law that the mother must not violate. Since the child is in its mother’s womb until birth, the custody and parental rights of a father do not apply. But the father has the right to care for, decide, and provide for their unborn child. Family court judges issue child support orders in cases regarding unborn children. The law provides that the financial support responsibilities of a father and mother apply even before a child is born.

As a dad, you can exercise your rights by remaining in the child's process before birth. The mother must not violate your rights by excluding you from those processes. If they do so, your attorney can help you fight in court for your paternity rights if you are not married to the mother or divorced if married but wish to do so.

If you are married and are not considering divorce, your attorney can help you file for child custody. In that case, your father’s rights for the child will be immediate after their birth. You can file for custody or visitation rights before a child’s birth.

The Rights of a Child-Support-Paying Father

A child’s lifestyle must not change much after their parent’s divorce. That is why child support issues are common in family law. The court orders the parent who earns more to pay some money towards the child’s upkeep. That does not mean the higher-earning parent is advantaged over the lower-earning parent. It also does not mean that the higher-earning parent does not have other rights after making child support payments.

If you are making more money than the mother and paying child support, you have rights you must protect. According to set guidelines, the amount you pay for child support is automatically generated by a computer. The court enters some factors into a computer program to generate an amount the parent must pay. If these factors change, you can petition the court to modify the child support order.

For example, if the mother refuses to work and you are forced to cater to her needs, you can obtain a court ruling compelling her to try to find a job to support herself. These efforts could include sending out job applications, looking for a job, attending job interviews, and following up with the resumes she has sent out. A mother does not have a legal right to stay at home. She should demonstrate reasonable efforts if she has difficulties returning to the workforce after being out of employment for a lengthy period. According to Family Code 4053, it is every parent’s responsibility to provide for their child financially.

If the mother refuses to earn a living, you can petition the court to amputate the income in your child support order. That will work if she has the opportunity and ability to earn a living but refuses to do so.

If the mother uses your child to obtain more money from you, you can also take legal action against them. You can discuss it with your attorney before bringing it to the judge. A skilled attorney will first document the mother’s behavior to ensure they have sufficient proof when they bring the matter to court.

Note: You do not lose your rights even if you pay child support late. If your financial situation has changed, the law allows you to seek the court’s help in modifying the child support order. If you are behind on payments, you can request a flexible payment plan from the judge to clear the pending payments. You could have legal problems if you fall behind on payments and do not try to update them.

Your Father’s Rights as the One Receiving Child Support

A higher-earning parent is not always the father. Sometimes, the court orders mothers to pay child support. If that is your case, you must understand and safeguard your rights. Being a low-earning parent does not mean that you lose your parental rights.

If you have joint custody and your income is insufficient to cater to your child’s needs, you can receive financial support from the mother. However, that will depend on how much time you spend with your child. If the court awards you sole custody, the amount must supplement your income to cater to your child’s needs. But if the mother spends more time with the child and you can care for them with your income when they are under your custody, child support will not be needed.

The judge’s final ruling must be in the child’s best interest. Thus, they will not discriminate against you because of your gender. If the mother must pay child support, they must do so according to the court order. Otherwise, you can take legal action against them. For example, you can petition the court to garnish her salary.

Find a Competent Divorce Attorney Near Me

Are you going through a divorce in Los Angeles and worried about losing your parental rights? 

Divorce is difficult for everyone. The last thing that comes to mind is how your relationship with your children will be impacted. Someone can take advantage of your situation to violate your father's rights.

Parents have equal rights to care for and provide for their children. However, most fathers do not know or fight to protect their rights after divorce. It is advisable to speak to an experienced divorce attorney about your father’s rights and how you can enforce them if the mother or anyone else violates them.

We have extensive experience helping fathers understand and fight for their rights at Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer. We can help you understand your rights, regardless of your situation. Call us at 310-695-5212 for more information about parental rights and our services.



Contact Us Today

Icon Hour

Hours of Operation

Mon-Fri: 8am-8am

Saturday: 8am-8am

Sunday: 8am-8am

Contact us today by calling 310-695-5212

We will give you a free, no-obligation consultation and can give immediate attention to your family law legal needs.

Jn Popup

Call Us Today

Contact us to schedule a free consultation on your divorce case


Contact Us

Contact Us