How is Child Custody and Visitation Decided in California?
Noone likes to think about the possibility of a disagreement over child custody and visitation. However, if you are facing such a situation in California, it’s important to understand the laws governing these matters. We’ll provide an overview of how child custody and visitation are decided in California so you can be better prepared.
In California, the courts prioritize what is in the best interests of the child when making decisions about child custody and visitation. The court will consider several factors when determining these matters, including:
- The age and health of the child: The court will take into account the age and health of the child when making a custody decision. For example, an infant or toddler may be more likely to remain in the primary physical custody of the mother.
- The relationship between each parent and the child: The court will consider how strong the bond is between each parent and the child when making a decision about custody and visitation. For example, if one parent has been more involved in the day-to-day care of the child, they may be granted primary physical custody.
- The stability of each parent’s home: The court will consider how stable each parent’s home is when making decisions about custody and visitation. This includes looking at factors such as whether either parent has a criminal record, or whether either home provides an unstable living environment due to drug or alcohol abuse.
- The parenting plans proposed by both parents: The court will look at the proposed parenting plans submitted by both parents when deciding on child custody and visitation. It will consider things like which parent proposes more time with the child, who is willing to facilitate communication between the other parent and their child, etc. Most courts prefer a plan that emphasizes the importance of both parents in the child’s life.
- The preference of the child: In certain situations, the court may consider the opinion of the child if he or she is old enough. The court can decide to take into account what the child wants, depending on their age and maturity level. Most courts will only consider the opinion of a child if they are over 12 years old.
Hiring an experienced family law attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that your interests are represented in court. An attorney can help you craft a parenting plan that is tailored to your individual circumstances and negotiate with the other party on your behalf. Also, they can help you understand the laws governing child custody and visitation in California so that you are better prepared for any hearings or proceedings.
Now you have a better understanding of how child custody and visitation are decided in California. It’s important to remember that the courts prioritize what is in the best interests of the child, so be sure to keep that in mind when discussing any matters related to your children with your attorney or the other parent. With careful preparation and an experienced family law attorney by your side, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that the court makes decisions based on what is truly best for your children.