Child custody can become a contentious issue when two California parents cannot agree to the terms of how they will share in the raising of their children following a divorce. When parents cannot come up with parenting plan agreements that dictate the terms of their custodial roles, the courts can intervene and create custody schedules by which the parents must follow. The failure of a parent to obey a custody schedule can result in enforcement proceedings being brought against them and changes to their parental rights.
This post will look at some of the factors that can be considered when child custody is under review in the courts of California. The contents of this post are informational only, and no reader should interpret what is written here as legal advice. When a parent has concerns or questions about child custody matters, their best resource is to turn to their trusted family law and divorce lawyer for case-specific guidance.
Establishing a child’s best interests
At the heart of all custody cases are the children who will be affected by the litigated or mediated outcomes. In California and many other jurisdictions, the goal of child custody is to preserve the best interests of the children after their parents’ relationships have ended. As all children have different needs, what constitutes a child’s best interests can look very different from child to child.
To establish a child’s best interests for the purposes of child custody, courts can look at factors related to both the children and their parents. If a child has particular needs that are better suited to the care of a parent, that may be important in their custody determinations. Similarly, if a parent is unwilling to work with their co-parent to help raise their child, that can be reflected in a child custody decision. Cooperation, understanding, and the preservation of a child’s interests are paramount considerations when child custody is under review.
Types of custody in California
Child custody has more to it than simply establishing where a child will live after their parents go through a divorce. Aside from habitation, child custody also must consider who may make important decisions about the care and comfort of the children affected by child custody decisions. Legal custody is the form of custody that concerns if a parent has the right to be involved in the decision-making processes of raising their child. Physical custody concerns where a child will live and who has the right to have them in their home.
Child custody can be confusing and emotionally charged. It can be hard for parents to face custody matters on their own. They can always rely on the consultation and support of their family law and divorce lawyers for help when child custody matters arise.