Parental rights in child-custody and support decisions
Historically, custody laws were biased in favor of women, sometimes granting to mothers child custody even when fathers could or would be more appropriate custodial parents — the “tender years” doctrine: the courts believed that it was damaging to children to separate them from their mother when they were very young. The state law is expanded to include same-gender couples as parents, regardless of gender. Since the courts are not biased against fathers, they consider a list of relevant factors in each individual case.
Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law, was formed in 1993 and focuses on resolving family-law matters. We have the experience and resources to advocate for your just treatment by the courts that lead to an equitable decision about your parental rights. We have education and practice in mediation and collaborative-law methods for guiding families toward agreements that put their children’s best interests first. Attorney Alan R. Silverman is certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of The State Bar of California as a family law specialist (CFLS) and enjoyed a 15-year career as a psychologist and family counselor before beginning his legal practice.
California laws regarding gender and child custody decisions
California Family Code §§3040-3049 governs the courts and the legal process for making fair child-custody decisions. Section 3040(a)(1) states: the court “shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent’s sex.” Under California Family Code §§3100-3105, parents’ rights to make decisions regarding their children’s upbringing are weighed against grandparents’ rights to child visitation.
Gender as a factor in child-custody and visitation rulings
The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law published its second edition of “A Judge’s Guide: Making Child-Centered Decisions in Custody Cases.” This informative procedural guidebook explains that courts moved away from maternal preference and toward a gender-neutral approach; it recommends that judges sometimes consider gender in their decisions, such as in situations involving:
- Parental alienation — A parent who continually makes degrading and derogatory remarks about the gender of the other parent may contribute to parental alienation.
- Gender perceptions — A parent who makes offensive comments about the opposite gender can negatively shape the children’s perceptions of that gender and potentially damage the self-esteem of the children of that gender. Children who are the same sex as the offending parent may feel distrust and hostility toward the sex that is being attacked.
- Breast-feeding — A breast-feeding mother must typically maintain a rigorous, consistent schedule for feeding her newborn, making her custody of a newborn child crucial to delivering this proven health benefit.
- Gender identification — A child may identify with a parent of the same sex during crucial developmental periods, such as when beginning to date.
We may introduce evidence that your gender is relevant to a ruling in child custody and child visitation in San Diego courts if your children’s best interests are supported.
Learn more from us about each parent’s rights to custody
To understand more about the role gender plays in child custody cases, call Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law, at 760-512-3251 or online to schedule your free initial phone consultation. Sunday appointments are available.
Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law, located in Carlsbad, California, serves clients in and around Carlsbad, San Diego, Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and all North County San Diego.