There are many issues involved with child custody in the State of California, some of which are discussed here.
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Child Custody Issues
Child custody issues address legal and physical custody matters that parent experience during divorce or separation.
California child custody issues addressed by a court can take into consideration a child’s preference. This can be a significant factor in determining parenting time and child custody. A California Family Law Court has the discretion to consider a child’s preference. The child’s preference is viewed along with the child’s age, maturity, age, interaction with the relationship with the parents.
Impact of Domestic Violence
A parent with a history of domestic violence or child abuse is most often denied both joint legal custody and joint physical custody. In California there is a presumption that a parent who has been found to have committed acts of domestic violence should not have joint custody because it is not in the best interest of the child.
The California Family Law courts expect parents to communicate effectively on any issue involving their child and child custody. One of the primary factors a California Family Law Judge considers when making a decision on California child custody issues is whether one parent is frustrating or refusing to allow the child communicate with the other parent or is refusing to engage in co-parenting with the other parent. California laws expressly provide that a parent who is unwilling foster the relationship with the other parent or is refusing to co-parent may not be fit to have joint or primary custody.
Best Interests of the Children
The purpose of California’s best interest standard is to give the court broad discretion in framing a child custody order and visitation plan that is consistent with the child’s health, safety, welfare and education.
The California courts take into consideration the amount of emotional bonding that the child has with the parents when fashioning child custody orders and parenting plans. Bonding is the attention and care a parent gives to a child and the child’s response to that parent. A California Family Law Judge will take into consideration the reasons why a parent has not bonded with their child.
Parent’s Financial Well-being
A California Family Law Court cannot consider, as a sole or primary factor, the financial position of the parents in fashioning child custody orders. A parent who has more money does not have an advantage over a parent who may not be so financially secure.
The decision on what school a child is to attend is usually left to the parents. A California Family Law Court will not pick a school for the child to attend but may designate one parent to make the decision should the parents not agree.
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