Q: What determines who gets custody of a child?
A: Judges grant custody based on the best interests of the child. They take several factors into account when making this determination, including:
- The child’s age and health
- The child’s ties to their home, school, or community
- The nature and amount of contact the child has with each parent
- The quality of relationship between the child and each parent
- The ability and willingness of each parent to provide appropriate care for the child
- Whether either parent has a history of abusive behavior against the other parent or child
- Whether either parent has a history of illegally using controlled substances, prescribed medications, or alcohol
- The child’s preference if they are 14 years old or older and mature enough to express their opinion
Q: How do you prove a parent is unfit?
A: If you believe the presence of the other parent in your child’s life would be detrimental to their well-being or place them at risk, you can pursue sole custody. A lawyer for custody must support your claim with clear factual evidence. Evidence of unfit parenting includes information about the parent’s lifestyle, behavior, parenting practices, and history of perpetrating physical, emotional, or sexual abuse against the child.
Q: Do men ever get custody?
A: California law explicitly states that custody cannot be granted to a parent because of their sex. Ideally, both parents should have meaningful relationships with their child, and judges make custody determinations based on the child’s best interests. This involves minimizing disruption in the child’s life, so judges typically consider how the parents shared responsibilities for raising the child before separating and whether maintaining the same arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.
Q: Who has more rights, the mother or the father?
A: Many people mistakenly assume that mothers have more parental rights than fathers. However, according to California law, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to care for their children. If the child’s father is not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and is not listed on the birth certificate, he must prove paternity before pursuing child custody or visitation. Fathers can prove paternity by taking a DNA test or obtaining a family court order that establishes legal parentage. At this time, he may also benefit from hiring a lawyer for child support.
If you are filing for divorce in Huntington Beach, the decisions you make now will impact your child’s life for years to come. Hiring a Huntington Beach child custody lawyer and family law attorney can make all the difference in your case. Whether your co-parent is willing to negotiate a parenting plan in mediation or you are forced to litigate your case in court, we can help. The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers provides the legal counsel you need to achieve a favorable resolution in your case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.