California fathers who have gone through a divorce or who had a child with someone they were not married to might have trouble paying child support or may struggle to get the custody or visitation rights they want. Fathers should try to pay something toward support even if it is not the full amount. They might also be able to ask for a modification in the amount they must pay monthly although this will not reduce any child support debt from past missed payments.
A father may be prevented from seeing his children if the other parent files a protection order. This might occur if the parent feels the children are unsafe with the father. The father might want to consult an attorney about how to respond to such an allegation.
Fathers who are unmarried are not automatically listed on the birth certificate and may need to take additional steps to establish paternity. A court will decide what type of arrangement for custody and visitation is in the best interests of the child. Fathers may be frustrated in the process of dealing with the court system on issues of custody and support, but therapists say it is best to try to set aside the anger and move ahead more constructively.
Not every divorce or situation with unmarried parents has to end up in court. Parents might be able to negotiate a custody and visitation agreement that suits them and their children. However, even if this is the case, they may want to submit the agreement to court and make it legally binding. This protects parents if one violates the terms of the agreement. For example, if one parent stops allowing the children to see the other parent, the parent whose access is blocked may have legal recourse. Parents might also get the child support enforcement office to help collect child support.