The Law Offices of
B J Fadem & Associates, APC
Certified Family Law Specialist
While the term “Fathers’ Rights” may seem quaint or odd, there is a reason that the term exists. In the past, courts tended to favor granting custody of minor children in divorce situations to mothers, rather than fathers. This probably made some sense from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, since, under the traditional family model, many mothers were stay-at-home caregivers, who had a closer relationship to their minor children than their fathers, who usually worked full-time.
However, the concept of “father’s rights” arose as more and more fathers felt short-changed by their treatment in family courts. More and more families consisted of both parents working full time and/or fathers became more involved in the day-to-day rearing of their children. As the modern American family changed, more and more fathers believed—with reason—that courts were not recognizing their contributions to their own children’s welfare; particularly as more and more mothers were working full-time themselves, and the old assumptions about a mother’s nurturing care were giving way to new circumstances and new realities.
Unfortunately, however, many people still have to battle the old prejudices—including fathers themselves. Sometimes, fathers feel they must give in to the demands of their divorcing wives when it comes to child care and child custody; assuming that courts are going to credit the mother’s wishes more than their own, or because they harbor old stereotypes themselves—even subconsciously—that mothers always understand their children better than they do. But that is not necessarily so. And California family courts have come a long way since the days when mothers were almost automatically awarded custody in the absence of a showing that the mother was actually unfit.
Today, California courts may not make any presumptions regarding whether the mother or the father is better suited to care for children when it comes to physical custody (in whose care the child or children primarily reside) or legal custody (who makes decisions regarding a child’s health, welfare and education). In fact, as a rule, family courts in California favor joint custody, in recognition of the different roles that both parents ought to play in their children’s lives.
At the Law Offices of B J Fadem, APC, our attorneys assist husbands and fathers who are undergoing divorce, and who need help in structuring agreements or fighting for arrangements that adequately appreciate their roles and responsibilities as fathers. Particularly in our modern society, it is more important than ever that father’s whose marriages or relationships are dissolving, do their utmost to continue to have strong and nurturing relationships with their children. The studies clearly indicate that children do much better in their lives when their fathers are involved. In representing fathers, we will ensure that family courts understand how important our clients are in their children’s lives, and work to obtain an arrangement that meets the goals of fathers in continuing to build and maintain good relationships with their children, while making sure that the welfare of the children remains foremost.
In California, unlike some other states, divorce is “no-fault,” which means that either party can file for divorce, regardless of cause, and even if one of the spouses does not desire a divorce. But even when both parties agree that divorce is the appropriate step to take, divorce is never a pleasant or positive experience, and it can be made even more unpleasant when the parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. When minor children are involved, issues related to support and custody can become some of the most heart-wrenching and contentious matters in the whole proceeding.
Strangely, couples with children often work out and discuss more of the decisions regarding the financial and practical arrangements of their divorce than they did during their marriage. Divorce requires them to make a lengthy series of decisions and agreements that relate to a wide variety of matters, from whether one of them should stay in the family home or whether they should sell it, where the children should spend certain holidays, how much time the children should spend with each parent, whether different children have different needs regarding time with each parent, how much financial support the children need, who will have primary responsibility in dealing with and making decisions about the children’s schools, doctors, sports teams, music or dance lessons, etc.
Moreover, all of these decisions need to take into account an uncertain future, in which jobs may change or be lost; salaries may increase or decrease; parents may need to move to a new location; a parent’s job may require travel; children will develop new needs and new wants; grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins will continue—or not—to have an influence on the wishes of the parents and the children; failing health, an accident, or some other trouble may at some point require any agreement to be altered; and so on.
Because of all these variables, these are not easy decisions to make. And one of the problems that can arise is that having to make all of these decisions becomes overwhelming, particularly given the other stresses that often persist, such as the emotional distress caused by the divorce itself; having to continue to perform one’s job, having to find a new place to live and set up a new household, coping with the emotional turmoil that children may be experiencing, and dealing with changed relationships with mutual friends and relatives in the aftermath of separation. It is that feeling of being overwhelmed and, frankly, emotionally exhausted, that often leads fathers to simply “give in” to agreements with which they do not necessarily agree.
Don’t fall for that mistake. Remember: if you agree to a poor arrangement, not only will you not be happy with the agreement for the original reasons that you did not like it, but falling in with an agreement that does not suit your requirements will also make it more likely that you will fail to perform according to its terms. Most important – it may not be in your child(ren)’s best interest. As a result, you may end up giving your spouse the ability to seek enforcement or modification through the courts, where your failure to perform according to the agreed terms will reflect poorly on you, and may lead the court to make an even less favorable arrangement for you and your child(ren).
Instead, let the attorneys at the Law Offices of B J Fadem & Associates, APC, help you to negotiate or litigate an agreement that will truly work for you and your child(ren). We understand what you are experiencing, and we understand the ins and outs of what the law requires. You do not need to make all of the decisions regarding your future with your children without help, advice, or support, and we can help you structure an agreement that not only accounts for all of the issues you have to contend with now, but for contingencies that may arise in the future.
Family courts will generally accede to any agreement that a divorcing couple reaches, whether or not it is wise, because they trust the parties to be acting not only rationally, but in their own interest. Accordingly, while having to contest child custody issues is bound to be uncomfortable, it can also be the best option for you and your child(ren) when you and your spouse have a serious disagreement.
In California, as in most states, the prevailing issue that a family court’s decision revolves around in deciding custody issues is the welfare of the child or children. In making its determination, the court will look at several factors, including:
- The child’s own preference, depending upon the age of the child;
- The existing relationship of the parent with the child or children, and the patterns of time and attention spent by the parents with their child or children in the past;
- The home environment that each parent will be able to provide;
- Any special needs of the child;
- The emotional, mental, and physical health of the parents;
- Any history of physical abuse of either the spouse or child by a parent;
- Any history of neglect of the child by either parent;
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse by the parent, or whether a parent has a criminal history; and
- Any other relevant factors.
You cannot afford to go into family court unprepared and out-represented. When you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement, you need to be able to explain why you are unhappy with the agreement proposed by your spouse regarding your child or children, and, in order to prevail, it is critical for you to make a clear case for why any agreement you propose is better for the children.
We have extensive experience in helping divorcing individuals to negotiate, draft, mediate, and litigate all aspects of family law matters, and we can help you to protect and defend your right to build and maintain strong, meaningful, and loving relationships with your children.
Can your Law Firm file our Legal documents and/or represent me in any County?
Yes. We can file in all California Counties and cities, including but not limited to: Alameda County, Alpine County, Amador County, Butte County, Calaveras County, Colusa County, Contra Costa County, Del Norte County, El Dorado County, Fresno County, Glenn County, Humbolt County, Inyo County, King County, Lake County, Lassen County, Madera County, Marin County, Mariposa County, Mendocino County, Merced County, Modoc County, Mono County, Monterey County, Napa County, Nevada County, Placer County, Plumas County, Sacramento County, San Benito County, San Francisco County, San Joaquin County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, Shasta County, Sierra County, Siskiyou County, Solano County, Sonoma County, Stanislaus County, Sutter County, Tehama County, Trinity County, Tulare County, Tuolumne County, Yolo County, and Yuba County. In addition, B J Fadem has represented hundreds of clients throughout California, the United States and foreign countries [with regard to Hague matters].
Seeking sound legal counsel with regard to Father’s Rights is a very important decision. Making the wrong or uninformed decision could cost you your family. Helping families is what Attorney B J Fadem does.
Our Attorneys are skilled at helping clients with Father’s Rights legal issues and making the process as civil and polite as possible. We hope that your case will go to Mediation first or to a Settlement Conference. This will save you both time and money. However, if the Opposing Side does not hold these ideals in high regard, we will be prepared to litigate at trial.
Your issue may be time sensitive.
Please contact our office to set-up your Initial Consultation.
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