In the past, it was typical for the mother to receive physical custody of the children up to a certain age. The exception to this “rule” was if the mother was an unfit parent: Someone who was physically abusive, neglectful, or had substance abuse problems. Today’s court takes a more modern approach in California, realizing that children are benefited by relationships with both parents.
How do I increase chances of primary custody as a father?
One way to increase your chances of primary child custody in California is to fully participate in the custody agreement that you and your soon-to-be ex will create. Do whatever you can to set aside the difficult emotions that will come up during the negotiations for custody.
You may also increase your chances if you look at custody from the perspective of what is best for the children. If, for example, you have a stable home and job, and the children will be happy with the prospect of spending most of their time with you, then your chances are increased. On the other hand, if you work a good deal of overtime, have a tiny one-bedroom apartment, or the kids are very attached to your co-parent, it might be a more difficult sell to a court.
It’s also important to consider your demeanor in court. If you appear calm, clear, and reasonable, the court will see that as an example of who you are as a person. Of course, that is much easier said than done during a divorce proceeding.
For the best chances of obtaining primary physical custody, be sure you have legal representation. While it seems like an affordable alternative, in reality, “do-it-yourself divorce” most often results in unsatisfactory custody arrangements. Be sure you find a family law attorney who is able to keep your best interest, and that of your children, at the forefront during the course of your divorce and custody proceeding.
Silky Sahnan is a divorce attorney in Brentwood, California. Visit www.legalservicesca.com to learn more about her firm.