California Child Custody
California Child custody orders are issued by California courts. A judge can award either one parent or both parents legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions about your child’s upbringing, from religion to school enrollment. Physical custody is the right to determine where your child lives and often used to denote the parent with whom a child spends or lives with the majority of the time. Either type of California child custody type may be designated as sole custody or joint custody. As an example, a court could award both parents legal custody, which means they share decision-making responsibilities, and award one parent physical custody, which means the child will be spending the majority of time with that parent.
Best Interests of the Child
In making a California child custody order, the court will make determination according to the best interests of the child . The court will use, among any other factors it finds relevant, the following factors:
- The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
- Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following; any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary; the other parent; a parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship. As a prerequisite to considering allegations of abuse, the court may require substantial independent corroboration, including, but not limited to, written reports by law enforcement agencies, child protective services or other social welfare agencies, courts, medical facilities, or other public agencies or private nonprofit organizations providing services to victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.
- The nature and amount of contact with both parents.
- The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, the habitual or continual abuse of alcohol, or the habitual or continual abuse of prescribed controlled substances by either parent. Before considering these allegations, the court may first require independent corroboration, including, but not limited to, written reports from law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, medical facilities, rehabilitation facilities, or other public agencies or nonprofit organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse services.
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