Deciding to divorce is never an easy decision for any couple, especially those who have children. While many couples can work out a satisfactory agreement on their own, others need the help of the court to be sure a time sharing plan that works for everyone in the family is in place. The following is an overview of California Child Custody law and how it pertains to child-custody. If you are facing this difficult situation and need legal representation, contact a family law expert for advice.
Developing A Time Sharing Plan
The court always strives to do what is best for the children involved in a divorce. Both parents should always try to work out a time sharing plan that allows each parent to be a part of their children’s lives. Statistics have shown that children do best when:
- Their Parents Avoid Conflict
- Discipline Similarly
- Have Regular Contact With Extended Family Members
- Their Parents Work Together To Schedule Special Dates Such As Birthdays And Graduations
Of course, it is not always possible to come up with a plan that works for both parents. In many child-custody cases, one parent is not able to provide a stable home for their children and may have substance abuse issues. If this is the case, it is best to seek the advice of a family law attorney to find a plan that works.
Contested Custody Cases
In some cases, it is in the best interest of the child to contest a child custody case. When deciding who gets primary physical custody of the children of divorce, a family court judge may consider the following things before making a decision:
- The Safety Of The Children Involved
- The Health Of The Children
- The Overall Welfare Of The Children
- The Educational Needs Of The Children
- The Stability Of Each Parent
- Any Substance Abuse Issues Of The Parents Involved
In California child-custody cases, non-custodial parents have more rights than it may seem. Many parents make the mistake of thinking there is no way to modify the decision of the court once an order has been signed. However, a family lawyer may be able to request a revision to a child-custody order that will work better for both the non-custodial parent and the child.
Do Children Get To Choose?
How much weight does a child’s preference carry in family court? The California Family Code section 3042 went into effect in 2012 and significantly changed the way the court looks at the preference of a child involved in a custody battle. A family court judge who is deciding child-custody may consider the wishes of a child in the following instances:
- When The Child Has The Capability Of Making A Reasonable And Informed Decision
- If The Child Is Over 14 Years Of Age
The court will not prevent a child from testifying and stating his wishes in child-custody cases. However, the preference of the child may not sway the judge, it depends on the best interest and safety of the child.
Domestic Violence And Custody
In many cases, one parent has committed an act of domestic violence and that may complicate the child-custody case. The court may order the following things to ensure the health and safety of children in these instances such as:
- Family Mediation
- Court Ordered Counseling Or Anger Management
- Testimony Of Friends And Family Who Witnessed The Violence
If you are facing a California child custody case, it may benefit you to speak with an attorney for advice. After a consultation, your attorney will let you know the best way to proceed in your child-custody case so you and your children can look toward the future and a happier stress-free life.