Fathers in California who want to take an active role in their children’s lives may sometimes need to file a petition in state court to assert their visitation rights or fight for primary custody. Courts are increasingly recognizing the important role that fathers play in their children’s lives.

Many children end up living primarily with their mothers, but there is a lot that fathers can do to protect their rights and have a better chance of getting more parenting time with their children. One thing that parents should keep in mind is the amount of time that they can actually spend with their children. If another relative would need to spend time watching a child during an allotted visitation time, it might be best to consider allowing the child to spend time with the other parent instead.

It is also important for both parents to keep the emotions that they experience at the end of a relationship in check and think of their children’s needs first. Parents can do their best to consider what is best for their children and consider how interactions with the other parent will affect a child’s emotional well-being.

Parents who want to request more time with their children or enforce a previous court order may want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney experienced in handling child custody litigation may help make sure that a court case is not just about winning but about what is best for the child.

When parents can’t get along, an attorney might help a client file for a modification in custody or a petition for contempt. For example, if a parent routinely says negative things about the other parent to a child, it may be possible to file a petition to change custody or request punishment through a court’s contempt powers to discourage this negative behavior.