what-rightsThis is an interesting question that comes up quite often. The simple answer is that fathers have all the same rights as mothers do in terms of child custody, and the law tries hard to be neutral and unbiased when it comes to deciding who gets custody.

Having said that, there are some mistakes that fathers tend to make during the course of a divorce proceeding that can hurt their chances at winning custody. We’ll outline these common mistakes below so you’re in a better position to avoid them.


In an effort to help smooth the transition, a man will often pay more than the court mandates in order to help see to the needs of his children, help make his soon-to-be ex-wife’s life a bit easier and the like.

The problem with this is the fact that by paying more than you absolutely have to, you’re worsening your own financial position. When it comes time to decide the matter of child custody, your financials matter very much, and the simple reality is that your generosity can work very much against you.

As in any profession, there are good divorce attorneys and there are not-so-good ones. Some divorce lawyers will tell their male clients (who often make more money than their spouses) to over-litigate the case and outspend their spouses in an attempt to gain concessions (like custody).

That’s problematic, and it doesn’t actually work in the state of California, because in cases where one party has substantially more resources than the other, the court will step in and grant funds to the party with fewer resources to help level the playing field.

In short, all you’re doing is throwing your money away, and again, worsening your financial position.

Finally, and this is the biggest and most inexplicable issue fathers often have, is that they’re often too quick to simply surrender their rights on the thinking that the courts are skewed in favor of the mother anyway. While this is true to varying degrees in other states, in California, it isn’t, and if you don’t fight for your rights, then your chances are essentially zero.

As a father, you’ve got rights. Fight for them, and you have a good shot at winning custody.