A divorce is difficult for the whole family. Neither parent wants to give up time with their child and sometimes they can overlook their wishes over what is best for their child.
Children don't have a voice in their parent's divorce or the custody process. Because of this, California family law courts have laws and guidelines in place to protect the best interests of children in custody cases.
How is Child Custody in California Determined?
In California, parents can decide how to handle child custody matters on their own. If they can create a parenting plan for custody that they both agree on, the parents can submit it to the court for approval. Typically, the judge will approve the arrangement, and it will be entered into the final order. Thus, making it enforceable in court.
However, when parents don't agree on how to handle custody, the court will step in to make the decision for them. The court places no bias towards mothers or fathers. Each parent has an equal right to custody.
California courts take child custody decisions very seriously and use extreme caution to ensure the child is not put in a dangerous situation. For courts, the most important thing when making custody decisions is that it must be in the child's best interest.
To ensure the child custody decision is in the child's best interests, the court will look at several factors. These can include:
- The age of the child
- The mental and physical health of the child
- Each parent's mental and physical health
- The emotional tie between each parent and the child
- History of violence or substance abuse within the family
- The place where the child currently resides
- What ties the child has to their school, home, or community
When possible, the court prefers custody situations that allow both parents to be involved in the child's life. It Is typically best for their well-being of children that they have a relationship with both of their parents.
As long as the child will not be put in harm's way, joint custody is almost always preferred. However, the court has the final decision to decide what custody arrangement will best suit the child's needs.
If you are going through a child custody case, Embry Family Law P.C. is here to help. Call our San Diego child custody attorneys at (619) 485-6476 to set up a consultation today.