In recent months, I have had the opportunity to represent teenage fathers caught in custody disputes. The scenario I have encountered is a teenage couple breaks up and the mother starts denying father visitation with the children.
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO 50/50
Although some might still believe that a mother’s rights are superior to the father’s rights in family law, that is simply NOT the case. Nowadays mothers and fathers are on equal footing. Simply put, the courts love 50/50 parenting plans. I always encourage clients to come up with a parenting plan that works based on the parties work schedule, the children’s school and extra-curricular activities. I tell them to come up with a plan because they are the best people to devise such a plan, since they actually know the children. Remember that a judge does not know your children like you do and does not have the time to get to know all the details about your case. It is always easy and safe for a judge to order a 50/50 parenting plan, since the family code states that each parent should have frequent and continuing contact with the children.
THE JUDGE EXPECTS YOU TO LEARN
Given that we are speaking about teenage parents, the courts understand that a young father may need to learn a few things. Therefore if you are a young father, it would be wise to take a parenting class or a co-parenting class. Buy some books on taking care of infants or young children. Buy books for your child and start reading to them. Learn about the importance of schedules and routines for children. And do not worry if you have a lot to learn, the court knows that already. Finish your high school education, the judge will ask you about that. Buy a crib or a bed for your child for your home. That way you will be able to show the court a picture of the child’s designated sleeping area.
KEEP ASKING FOR MORE TIME
If you already have a court order giving you minimal time, keep asking for more time. Court orders that deal with custody and visitation can always be changed, as long as the children are under eighteen years old. So keep asking for more time or the judge will never give it to you. Document the visits you do have so you can show the court what activities you do with your child. Have someone take pictures of you and your child at different outings, events and participating in different activities.
If you are a teenage parent and have any questions, please feel free to contact me for a consultation at (626) 446-6442 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Norma Nogueda, Esq.
The Law Offices Of Vincent W Davis And Associates