Divorce is hard enough, but it’s harder when there are kids involved. Who does the child get to live with? Who cares for the child? Who pays for the child? Can you visit your child? When can you visit them? The questions and confusions are endless.
California’s Child Custody Laws take two factors into basic consideration: (a) the best interests of the child and (b) the ability of the parent to care for the child.
One of the first and foremost things the state of California is concerned with is the best interests of the child. Divorce doesn’t just affect the parents, but the children as well. Everything that comes subsequently—the home the child finally gets and the circumstances they end up with—have a direct effect on their future. This is the primary reason why California courts take child custody so seriously, and carefully go over all factors before giving a verdict. The child’s preference is given priority.
The child’s comfort around a specific parent is also a factor the court considers. If it’s the case of a parent who is always away or doesn’t make time for the child, they’re less likely to get custody. Your current partners and their relationship with the children also matter. The worst-case scenario is when the parent has a criminal record, bad rap sheet, or has a history of drugs, they’re probably not getting custody.
The parents’ physical as well as mental health is also a factor that affects child custody. Parents with, for instance anger issues, will never secure custody. Similarly, good physical health shows that you are in a good position to take care of your child.
Additionally, if there are other people living in the house whose (mental or physical) health conditions can affect the child, there will be difficulties obtaining custody for your child.
The state of California recognizes that children need support and the presence of a parent who is not bogged down by excessive work. If you have busy schedules or frequent flying appointments, you’ll face difficulties obtaining custody of your child. There has to a specific time that you spend with your child for their psychological development and well-being.
Other Factors that Affect Child Custody in California
- The age of the child—an infant or a toddler will likely have a ruling in favor of the mother
- Living conditions
- History of neglect, violence, and abuse
- The impacts of the decision on the child’s education and extracurricular activities