The fact that child custody issues can be true battles is the same in every state. But what’s not the same across all states are the laws regarding child custody. Here are some California specific governing principles surrounding child custody.
Best Interests of Child
California child custody judges consider the best interests of the child when making their decisions regarding custody of the child. A judge is not permitted to give preference to a parent based on their gender. California law has two specific guiding policies when determining a child’s best interests:
- the health, safety, and welfare of children must be a court’s primary concern,
- children benefit from frequent and continuing contact with both parents
- A judge will weigh any relevant factors within these two parameters when making their judgment regarding each individual case.
Joint Physical and Legal Custody
California law favors joint physical and legal custody, but this is only when parents agree to do so. If parents do not agree to this, then the court will develop a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests. A judge must provide a written explanation if they do not rule in favor of joint custody if a parent requests it.
Parents, of course, are able to put together their own parenting arrangements. In fact, it is required by California law that parents unable to reach an agreement must attend mediation prior to going to court. If the parents are still unable to agree in court, a judge will determine custody.
According to California law, if a child is mature enough to make an intelligent choice regarding custody, then the courts must consider that choice. A specific age is not required by law, but it makes sense that the older the child, the most likely he or she will be able to provide a mature decision.
For advice on child custody, you need the expert law firm of Korol and Velen, certified family law specialists. Schedule a consultation today.
Source: Divorce Net, Child Custody in California: Best Interests of the Child, 2014
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