Traditional views that long upheld mothers as the only appropriate caregivers for children have left fathers with deep concerns when they pursue child custody. The court decisions made by previous generations in California frequently discounted the parenting abilities of men. Attitudes toward fathers have changed in recent years, and family law recognizes their parental rights. Fathers can and do gain full or shared custody of their children, but judges with old-fashioned beliefs still exist. To prepare for the potential of parental discrimination, fathers should gather as much evidence as possible to support their bids for child custody.

A strong case for child custody might show that the father can communicate with the mother. A judge will want to see that the parents can cooperate for the benefit of their children. Drafting a parenting plan that spells out parental duties and schedules could present evidence that the father has already invested time and energy in planning for child care. Proof that the father and children have a positive relationship might also persuade a judge to approve full or shared custody for the father.

Ideally, a parent petitioning a court for child custody will present a plan that fulfills the best interests of the child. The law places a priority on the financial and emotional needs of the children. Evidence should show that a parent has sufficient income to provide for children in addition to emotional availability.

The stakes are high for any parent when asking a court to approve a child custody petition. Legal representation might prepare a person to present a strong case to a judge and overcome challenges to custody that might arise. An attorney may be able to file the necessary court paperwork, help with the writing of a parenting plan and challenge violations of the person’s rights whenever necessary.