When Californians talk about fathers’ rights, they could be referring to a common belief that California family courts will award custody to a child’s mother almost automatically.
There may have been some truth to this belief several decades ago. However, such is no longer the case in California. In a child custody and parenting time case, each parent starts on equal footing.
A judge will consider a number of factors when deciding what custody and parenting time arrangement is in a child’s best interest, and how a judge will look at these factors will depend a lot on each family’s unique circumstances.
The bottom line is that neither the legal mother nor the legal father of a child has any special rights with respect to the other parent.
On the other hand, a father may have to establish their legal rights over a child. Assuming they were not married to the child’s mother, fathers can still do this in a number of ways. It may not be necessary to go through a court proceeding in all cases.
However, fathers in the Fremont area should understand that if they have not established legal parentage over their children under California law, they legally have no say in custody or parenting time.
In other words, even if it is well-known that a person is the child’s father, the other parent will be the one to make decisions about the child. The other parent may even choose to prevent the father from seeing their children.
Fathers in the Bay Area need to understand their legal options
Bay Area Fathers who want to have enforceable rights to see and raise their children will need to establish parentage.
Once they do so, they will still need to be sure they understand how child custody cases work in California and will need to understand the legal options and strategies available to them.