Are fathers’ and mothers’ rights different in California?

There really is no such thing as “fathers’ rights” when it comes to custody. Under the law, both parents in a divorce are treated equally.

Parents who live in Riverside or other parts of the California Inland Empire that are getting divorced commonly have to share parenting time with their former spouses. Mothers and fathers alike can be concerned about losing time with their children. Parents of either gender may also have incorrect ideas about how custody is determined in California.

An antiquated view

Despite more and more fathers awarded joint or sole custody of their children today, many people still believe that courts favor mothers in custody choices. This, quite simply, is not true. Slate.com notes that a custody professional from Arizona State University indicates that these decisions today are "gender neutral."

The Huffington Post adds that one of the primary factors taken into account in a child custody case is how involved each parent is with the children. This involvement does not only include attending soccer games or other special events but other activities such as the following:

  • Making dental and medical appointments.
  • Preparing and serving meals.
  • Shopping for children's daily or special needs.
  • Providing transportation to and from school or other activities.

The level of involvement in these and other activities by both parents before the divorce is what will matter when it comes time to assign custody. The ability of one parent to cooperate and get along with the other parent will also be considered according to a legal professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Special cases do exist

Certainly there are situations that have shown how difficult it can be for dads to obtain parental rights. Some even make national news. These, however, tend not to be cases involving divorces. Instead, fathers are more likely to face custody challenges when they were not married to their children's mothers.

A legal view of custody in California

The California Courts clearly state that no preference is given to either parent for a custody award simply due to gender. This is true of both legal and physical custody.

Parents who are given legal custody have the power to make decisions on behalf of their children. These decisions can range from where the children will go to school to what medical treatments they may undergo.

Physical custody provides the framework that indicates where children will live predominately live. Even if this is given jointly to both parents, kids may not spend 50 percent of time with each parent equally.

Accompanying a custody order is an order for visitation. This is essentially some form of schedule that identifies when children will be with each parent. It can be relatively fixed and rigid or more fluid, allowing parents to fluctuate time with their children as schedules dictate.

Legal representation matters

One of the best ways that fathers and mothers can get the right level of custody and time with their children after a divorce is to hire a good attorney. Having representation by someone who thoroughly understands the laws and the divorce process can make a big difference in the final outcome.