It is the public policy in California that children have frequent and ongoing contact with both parents following the end of a relationship. In fact, California law acknowledges that a child’s mental health and emotional well-being are best served by maintaining a healthy, consistent relationship with both parents.
As such, the Court will strongly encourage each parent to make every reasonable effort possible to maintain a stable presence in their children’s lives, despite the difficulty that the separation or divorce may have on each parent. This preference is set forth in California Family Code §§ 3020-3032.
While it may have been true that California historically had a strong inclination to awarding primary physical custody to mothers, times have changed. In fact, today it is not uncommon for fathers to be awarded primary physical custody while mothers are awarded reasonable visitation. It is also not uncommon that the father is the parent who stays home to raise the children.
It is crucial for the overall well-being of each child that both parents stay involved in the child’s life during a separation and following a divorce. Significant research has shown that children with absentee parents or strained parent-child relationships have a significantly harder time in adult life, in their own personal relationships and even in their work careers. The damage that occurs to your child now will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives. Because of that risk, the court will do everything in its power to ensure the child maintains a heathy relationship with both parents.
Therefore, it’s important to hire an attorney with the knowledge and experience to protect your relationship with your child. Our society has come a long way and equal rights for all parents is the new norm.