Some people believe the common divorce myth that judges always prefer giving custody to the mother in divorces. In reality, the gender of the parents should not factor into how the courts allocate parental rights and responsibilities. Both parents often get to play an active role in the life of their children and share parenting time and decision-making power.
For dads facing divorce with minor children in California, it's important to think about the children and protecting your relationship with them as you plan your approach to divorce. Familiarizing yourself with common custody practices and California laws can help you work toward a positive custody outcome in your divorce.
California wants to decide in the best interests of the child
When judges must decide how to divide custody, they should always focus on the best interests of your children. Typically, that will result in a joint custody arrangement, where both parents share legal and physical custody of the children. Sometimes, when one parent is less stable or there's a history of addiction or abuse, one parent will receive sole custody, relegating the other parent to visitation only.
Most of the time, however, the courts will do everything they can to keep both parents actively involved in the life of the children after divorce. This usually means joint custody and shared parental responsibilities. The courts will create a parenting plan that determines how you and your ex will share decision-making authority and actual time with your children.
Although arrangements vary, the courts will usually try to make the division of time fair and reasonable for both parents. 50/50 splits, such as alternating weeks or months, have become more common in recent years, but other arrangements are also possible.
Your children deserve your love and support
Some people want to just give up and allow their ex to have whatever they want in a divorce. Doing that can mean getting through the process more quickly, but it can also mean losing out on items or rights that should be yours in the divorce. When it comes to time with children, that's a right worth fighting for, even if it means a longer divorce process.
Remember that it isn't just about your ability to spend time with them. It's about their need for the love and support of both parents as they grow and mature. If your ex wants sole custody of your children, you need to advocate on behalf of your children and protect your relationship with them. The future for your children will be richer and better overall if they grow up with ongoing relationships with both of their parents after the divorce.