It is disappointing that marriages end up in conflict, leading to divorce. These situations have a significant impact on children, individual spouses, and the community at large. Based on the effects of divorce, one of the most significant aspects that come in place is the parental rights to their children. Such issues have quite a lot of controversies based on the provisions of the law. San Diego Divorce Attorney is committed to offering the best legal services to anyone going through the divorce process.
California Family Laws
Several laws are related to divorce in California. It is vital to learn about them and consider what is expected from a parent when it comes to divorce cases. Here are a few California laws you should know about:
California Family Code 3585 – 3587
Under California Family Code section 3585, any provisions between the parents of child support are considered severable and separate from any other support that is related to the help of the wife or husband. Therefore, child support that is based on an agreement remains imposed by the law and enforced through the court.
Under California Family Code section 3586, the court is not supposed to make a separate order for child support if the amount that is designated to support both the spouse and child is not separate under a formal agreement.
Under California Family Code section 3587, the court has the jurisdiction to approve any stipulated agreement made by the parents to continue supporting their child even after attaining 18 years of age. This should be considered without withstanding any other provisions provided by the law.
California Family Code 3900 – 3902
This statute is expected to enforce the requirements needed for support for a child, although under this section, the provisions are primarily for minors and stated in Article 1.
Under Family Code 3900, the father and mother of a minor child have equal obligations to support a child in a manner that is ideal for the child’s circumstances.
Under Family Code 3901, two subsections define the support that a minor should get. Under subsection (a) (1), the responsibility imposed on a parent under section 3900 should continue to a child who is not married, is at the age of 18 years and is a full-time high schooler, unless the child is excused as stated in paragraph 2.
Under subsection (a)(2), a child is exempted from being a full-time high schooler as provided in paragraph 1 if he or she has a medical condition that is verified by a physician to prevent full-time attendance of school.
Under subsection(b), section 3901 doesn’t limit the ability of the parent to offer additional support or limit the court to confirm whether there is a consensus to offer additional support.
Under section 3902, the court might order an allowance to the parent supporting the child. This order should be done correctly, and the allowance should be solely directed for the benefit of the child.
California Family Code 3950 and 3951
These statutes are provided under chapter 1 and article 4 of the California family code. They are aimed to highlight the duty of parents to support their children and liability and liability to anyone who provides child support.
Under section 3950, a third person can take the obligation of supplying the necessities of a child and recover a reasonable value of the provision from the parent. This is considered if the non-custodial parent fails to provide the necessary articles to the parent who has custody of the child based on the circumstances at hand.
Under section 3951, parents are not bound to compensate other parents if:
- The other parent, a relative offer voluntary support of the parent with the custody rights if there was no agreement for compensation (subsection a)
- A stranger offers support to an abandoned child without any fair cause (subsection b)
Under subsection (c), nothing provided in this section relieves the parent the obligation of supporting a child during the period in which the state, county of government provides support to the child.
California Family Code 3910
This statute is provided under Article 2 and vouchers for support for an adult child. Under subsection (a), the parents of an adult child have an equal obligation to support their child to the extent of their abilities at whatever age of the child as long as he or she cannot earn a living and has no sufficient means.
Under subsection (b), the provisions of this section do not limit the responsibility of support provided under section 3900 and 3901.
California Code 4000 and 4001
These two statutes are provided under article 1: General provisions. Under section 4000, one parent can bring a legal action towards the other if he or she willfully fails to support the parent with the child’s custody.
Under section 4001, the court might order both parents to provide the necessary support to a minor child who has been authorized under section 3901 and 3910.
Paternal Rights in Child Custody
Father’s involvement in the life of a child is equally crucial, just like a mother. Fathers are considered as excellent caregivers and effective disciplinarians, and their participation in the life of a child can be a crucial aspect in the holistic development of the child.
How Fathers Establish their Paternity in California
In California, the term paternity and parentage are used interchangeably. However, when it comes to establishing paternity, it means that the government is expected to verify a specific male as the father of an individual. The law assumes that the identity of a father in the following ways:
- When a child is born in a marriage, and the mother’s husband is identified as the child’s father
- When a child is born, and a male who has been living with the mother in a family-like manner demonstrates a thorough and reasonable commitment to the child and considers himself as the child’s father despite not being the biological father
Once the government establishes these two circumstances, the child’s paternity can be established.
The most effortless process to establish the paternity of a child is through the signing of a voluntary declaration of paternity. The voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or VDP is provided to an unmarried mother who delivers in a medical setting, and the alleged father is present. Once both the mother and alleged father signs the document, this acknowledges that both are the child’s parent and the father’s name is included in the birth certificate. After completing this process, the father can now assume all the responsibility and rights to the respective child.
The law can also establish paternity through a legal action taken to court. The following agencies can take legal action to seek a paternity order:
- The mother of the child
- Any male who reasonably believes that he is the father to the child
- Any male who has been identified as the possible father to the child
- A local child support agency that is offering services to the mother
- An adoption agency
A child under the age of 12 can be or not considered as part of the legal paternity action. However, a child over the age of 12 can be regarded as part of the case. In such a case, the court usually appoints a representative for the kid, who is commonly referred to as “guardian ad litem.” The individual typically appears in court on behalf of the child and ultimately represents the best interests of the child.
Once such a case has been brought to court, the judge has the jurisdiction to authorize genetic testing to determine the child’s father. If the male in question fails to cooperate, the judge might use this as evidence of paternity. The court might also the following actions besides the genetic test:
- Child support
- Payment for the genetic testing
- Health insurance for the kid
- Payment of all court expenses
- Payment of the party’s legal fees
- Legal or physical custody of the kid
- Payment for the non-custodial visitation
Paternal Rights to Child Custody and Visitation
California laws provide the right to seek custody and visitation to both parents. For that reason, the father and mother of the child get equal treatment and rights. The rights remain despite the relationship that both parents had, primarily whether they were married or not before the child’s birth.
However, when the court is making a decision about the child’s custody, the best interest of the child is usually considered and works as the guiding principle of the decision to be made. Traditionally, courts have been favoring mothers in child custody. Still, in a recent turn of event, more fathers are ending up with custody over their kids while the mother ends up receiving visitations.
Paternal Rights to Child Support
Based on the outcome of a child custody case, the child’s mother or father can get custody of the child. The parent who receives the rights of custody becomes the primary custodian while the other one becomes the non-custodian. The custodian parents get the majority time with the child and even decides where the kid will live.
On the other hand, the non-custodial parent is usually put under visitation in different capacities based on the circumstances surrounding the case. The non-custodial parent can end up getting weekend visitations, supervised visitations, or unsupervised visitations.
Whether the father or mother gets custody rights, one has the right to seek assistance in child support. The support is usually guaranteed by the non-custodial parent and helps in covering aspects such as education, medical, shelter, food, and clothing. Fathers can also seek child support when they get custody of their kids and seek legal actions if the mother does not pay for the support.
Maternal Rights in Child Custody
As stated earlier, there is no preference between a mother and a father when it comes to their rights over a child. Both can get custody of a child, depending on the best interest of the child.
Pre-Judgment Full Custody for a Mother in California
A mother can get custody of a child before a final judgment based on a thorough evaluation of the child’s best interest. The analysis of the child considers factors such as the child’s education, general welfare, health, and safety.
Once the contest for custody is put in court, a mother can petition for full custody if she proves by facts that the father is not fit to get the custody. Some of the reason that a mother can present to court include:
- A recent history of domestic violence
- Substantial abuse problems that the father still denies about
- Emotional abuse to the child from the father
- Failing to be fit to take care of the child
- Possible flight risk of the child
Other aspects can prompt the court to deny custody to the child’s father. However, they must be convincing enough to prove that the father is unfit to take care of the child.
Post-Judgment Maternal Custody Rights
The process as to which a mother gets full custody rights after a judgment is not different from the prejudgment. However, in a post-judgment, the court guarantees the change of material of circumstances that proves the child’s custody.
Please note, the fact that you have received sole custody does not mean that another parent is not entitled to visitation and support. You can also file a case in court to petition for the father’s relief, and the father can as well file a lawsuit to be granted visitation rights.
Unwed or Unmarried Mothers Custody Rights in California
One of the most common situations is when an unmarried mother lacks financial support from the father. The father might be voluntarily offered support for months and suddenly ends up failing to pay for the support. In such a case, one cannot force the father to pay for the support unless under a court order.
The mother can turn to the government for financial assistance, which, in return, should seek welfare reimbursement from the father. However, the government must establish that the father has the paternal right to the child to enforce the financial responsibilities to him.
Once the court succeeds in enforcing the court order, there are a couple of advantages that follow. First, the parent owing the responsibilities cannot evade them even after filing bankruptcy. Secondly, child support is usually given priority, although the father has other financial obligations such as paying back his creditors.
Please note, Under California Family Code section 7610. the unmarried mother has an automatic right of the child’s custody even without legal action. The mother can also determine what, if there is any contact, the father has with her child.
Termination of Parental Rights
Although one of the child’s parents can get sole custody while the other gets visitation rights, the parent with the sole custody can have the right terminated and have it granted to the other. This is considered as termination and is often seen during the adoption process of a child. The court has the freedom to terminate the parental right of the parent in custody if the parent with the custody right does not waive his or her right willingly.
When defining the termination of parental rights, this means that the following rights get terminated:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Social security
- Responsibility for the child’s misconduct
- Medical insurance
Common Causes of Parental Rights Termination
In a typical parent-child relationship, the parent has specific responsibilities and rights to make a decision related to the child. This includes his or her well-being, education, health, and religion. The court might terminate the right and responsibility if the parent fails to observe the law or when the father fails to claim paternity. Once the termination has been decided, the parent with custody loses the legal child-parent relationship.
The common reason behind the parental right terminations are as follows:
- Chronic or severe neglect or abuse
- Involuntary termination of the parent’s custody rights to another kid
- The long-term inability of a parent associated with drugs and alcohol
- Failure to contact the child
- Abuse to other children in the house
- Long term illness or parental deficiency
- Sexual abuse
Parental rights can also be terminated if the parent commits a felony crime against the child or a relative. If the parent gets imprisoned, and there is no alternative to raise the child, placing the child in foster care, the parental rights of the parent get automatically terminated.
Find San Diego Divorce Lawyer Near Me
The divorce process is quite complicated and gets worse when one of the parents is seeking parental custody for the child. That’s why it is essential to find a professional family lawyer who is familiar with relevant legal aspects related to this field. Also, you need an attorney who has both experience and a good reputation in family law. San Diego Divorce Attorney can achieve such expectations and can guarantee credible services per your expectations. If you are in San Diego, CA, contact us today at 858-529-5150 and let us handle your case.