In California child custody cases, the court cannot favor a parent simply because they are the mother or the father. During the divorce proceedings, the overriding consideration in determining custody is always the best interests of the child and who can take best care of him or her. The court looks at the most stable home environment, the health of each parent (both physical and mental), best schools, best family support - to name a few. Courts prefer to award joint legal custody to both parents. This is when the child spends equal amounts of time with both parents and both parents have the legal right to make major decisions regarding the child's well-being. Joint custody requires cooperation between the parents. When a "non-custodial" parent is involved, the court may order him or her to pay child support. This money is used for care in the upbringing and day-to-day life of the child. In most cases, the support will automatically be taken out of the payer's paycheck. California guidelines determine the amount of support that must be paid. Many years ago fathers just walked away from custody disputes thinking that the mother will automatically be awarded custody. Today, thousands of men fight for custody and therefore, are able to build new lives for themselves and their children. In the end, the ultimate rewards outweigh the hardships, heartaches and headaches that were endured along the way. If you are a father currently involved in a custody battle, contact an experienced Riverside Family Law attorney who will work for yours and your child's best interests and for your rights as a father.
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