Fathers, and men in general, are often portrayed poorly in movies, shows and books. Many real-life California fathers must fight to overcome such stereotypes, which often include images of disconnected, lazy dads who are more like overgrown toddlers than productive members of society. Real fathers often have their children's best interests at heart and do whatever they can to help them grow into confident, successful adults.
Fortunately, the tide is beginning to turn in regards to support for fathers who wish to play active, interested roles in their kids' lives. Once you may have strongly doubted that you'd ever have a chance to obtain full custody of your children. Today it is quite possible to gain custody, especially if you show the court you are capable and willing to fulfill all the responsibilities and obligations that go along with being a custodial parent.
Have a plan and prepare to execute it
The court will want evidence that you not only desire custody of your kids but can follow through by providing for your children's needs. The following list includes ideas that may help you show the court you are ready and willing to be a full-time custodial parent:
- A place for them: Whether you live in an apartment or a single-family home, you must prove that you have space for children to sleep and store their belongings.
- You are there often: The court will expect that a custodial parent is going to be on hand to interact with children and provide care and support on a daily basis. If you work far from home for long hours and would rarely be under the same roof as your kids, it likely won't sway the court in your favor regarding custody.
- Evidence of prior active relationship: It's always best if you can show that you and your children have already established a strong bond and active relationship. Photos or other evidence showing you have always played a major role in their lives may be helpful.
- Prepare: Any father who wants full custody of his children should make sure he is able and willing to carry out all the tasks and duties that go along with the title.
- Be in good standing with child support: If you are currently making child support payments, do not stop unless a judge changes your existing court order. Up to that point, however, you must adhere to your current court instructions and make payments on time.
Depending on the ages of your children, a California judge may want to interview them to ask how they would feel if you were to become their custodial parent. In the meantime, you might want to talk with other dads who have been successful in their own child custody quests. There are other support networks in place as well; by tapping into available resources, you can help your children transition to a healthy and happy, new family lifestyle.