Yesterday delivered a great reason to celebrate, both for football fans and for fathers everywhere, as former Oakland Raiders cornerback Joselio Hanson won primary custody of his nine-year-old daughter.
Hanson retired from football in 2013 after a 10-year NFL career, including two seasons with the Raiders, seven with the Philadelphia Eagles, and one with the San Francisco 49ers. The cornerback’s custody dispute began over a year ago, after he retired, when his daughter’s mother attempted to deny him visitation.
Hanson told San Bernadino County Superior Court Judge Michael Knish that with football now behind him, he was prepared to take on a new role as a full-time, stay-at-home dad. His focus, he said, was on providing his daughter with the opportunity for a first-rate education.
Hanson lives in Calabasas, California, an upscale community in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley. The Las Virgenes Unified School District, which covers Calabasas, consistently ranks among the state’s top school districts. Hanson’s daughter had been living with her mother in San Bernadino County, attending a lower-ranked school with fewer educational resources, and had been struggling academically.
In court yesterday Judge Knish cited “the best interests of the child” and finalized the family’s custody arrangements, granting primary custody to Hanson, and offering Hanson’s daughter the opportunity to attend school in Calabasas.
The Hanson ruling demonstrates the wisdom of the current standards for family law. Unlike previous eras, when abuse and neglect were among the only factors that could trigger a shift in custody, today judges are squarely focused on the best interest of the child. That thoughtful standard has opened up new opportunities for separated fathers and shifted the courts away from a custody system that used to place mothers’ interests first and children’s needs second.
With the media spotlight now on Hanson’s victory, the cornerback may be inspiring a new generation of fathers not to give up on custody but instead to get their heads — and their legal teams — in the game and fight for their children’s best interests.
Hanson was represented in court by attorney Dean Masserman, a founding partner of our firm, Vorzimer Masserman.