How Fathers Can Prepare for Custody Battles


Father with his child at the beach

As a dad, you take pride in being able to see your children grow up and become independent contributors to the world around them. When you’re contending with a highly contested divorce, however, in which child custody and child support are in question, and where the mother may be more likely to be granted custody, it can feel overwhelming. 

The good news? All is not lost yet. Winning child custody court cases is often challenging for fathers due to many gender stereotypes working against them. However, it is indeed possible for you to win the custody battle if you develop and execute the right plan in California

Let’s review how custody works for fathers in California.

How to Prepare for a Custody Battle

If you and your partner are at odds about who should be granted custody of your shared children, you’ll likely have to rely on a family law judge to make this decision for you.

A judge’s gavel on a dark wood table

Here are some tips on how to prepare for your child custody court case:  

  • Assess your earnings compared with those of the other parent
  • If you determine that your income is higher, your family law attorney may leverage your earning power when you face a judge in court, though it is ultimately up to the judge
  • The reason for assessing your income, job stability, and any other existing monetary assets is to determine whether you are a better fit for financial stability for your family. Raising children can be costly, and financial stability is critical. If you can demonstrate to the court that you have a higher income and financial independence, then a judge may award custody to you due to believing that you can give your children greater financial security long term
  • Gather excellent references who can help you to make your arguments and stance strong in court. These references may include friends or family members who can attest to your track record of taking care of your child
  • Try to remain as flexible as possible when it comes to issues like visitation, unless you feel the other parent is putting your family at risk

How to Prepare for Child Support Hearings

When it comes to preparing for child support, it is paramount that you are as honest as possible when you show up at court and discuss your income. In child custody court cases where one or both partners fail to disclose their income truthfully, it is considered fraud.  Do not lie or misrepresent your earnings. 

Come prepared to your hearing with the following:

  • Punctuality: show up on time for all scheduled hearings and appointments
  • Custody and visitation schedules as agreed upon during your child custody proceedings
  • W-2 forms, last two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, and any other financial statements for proof of income

If you believe your partner is being dishonest when reporting her income, be sure to raise this concern with the judge and your attorney. The presiding judge will be who ultimately determines child support; in order to do so, they assess both parents’ financial situations.

Additional Tips for Preparing for Custody Battles

In child custody court cases where the father wins, the father typically takes several steps to present himself in the best light possible. 

First, attorneys are usually involved in contested child custody court cases, so it would behoove you to hire a family law attorney right away if you believe that a child custody battle is unavoidable. An attorney can answer all of your child custody questions and make sure that your rights aren’t trampled on in family court. 

In addition, make sure that you remain invested in your children’s lives. If you can demonstrate to the judge that you are involved with their lives intimately, this will increase your chances of being awarded child custody.

Find Reliable Help for Your Family Legal Matter in San Diego

If you are dealing with divorce and expect to enter a child custody battle, you don’t have to go into battle alone. As an experienced trial attorney in California, I have helped numerous clients to successfully prepare for their child custody court cases, and I can help you to do the same.

When you partner with me, you can take advantage of my extensive family law experience coupled with my own invaluable personal experience with navigating divorce. I will assess your family law situation and offer you the guidance and legal representation you need to make your case one of the child custody court cases where the father wins.

Get in touch with me today to learn more about how I can help with the process of preparing for child custody court cases, all the while keeping your rights at the forefront of your case.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.