Children suffer the most when parents opt for Divorce or legal separation. Not only do they suffer emotionally, but even their future becomes unclear and blurry. If parents fail to sort out their differences, it may negatively impact a child.
One of the most sensitive matters in a Divorce is child custody and visitation and child support. The effects of Divorce on a child are everlasting, and the decision the Family Law Judge takes regarding support and custody plays a significant role in their life.
Child custody Cases in California
Deciding who gets custody of the child is the responsibility of the parents. It is best to handle the matter of child custody between the parents beforehand in order to remove complications from the case. If the parents are unable to establish an agreement, the matter is then taken to the Court. Dragging a child custody case to Court can damage a child and may not be in the child’s best interest. It is more beneficial for the parents to reach an agreement before allowing the court to determine what is in the child’s best interest.
Another way to avoid the lengthy Court hearings is to opt for “mediation.” Each parent presents their plan for custody and justifies how their plan is beneficial for the child in front of an unbiased third-party. The mediator then designs a plan based on both the plans and what is in the best interest of the child. If even one of the parents refuses to accept the custody plan suggested by the mediator, the matter goes to the Family Law Court. It is then up to the Judge to decide the custody plan for the child. In San Diego, the Court requires parents to attend Family Court Services’ Mandatory Child Recommending Counseling (mediation) to try and establish a parenting plan before the issue can be litigated.
Types of Child Custody
There are two different types of custody under California Family law which includes physical custody and legal custody, which the parents may have as either sole custody or joint custody under each type. The parents must agree to which type of custody they want in order not to go to Court. They need to decide the type of custody solely on the child’s best interests. Unable to do so will drop the matter at the feet of the Court, which will require the Court to make the decision that both parents will have to accept.
Interests of Child – Priority of Family law Courts in California
Under the California Family Law, both parents have equal rights to the child. The Court does not give preference to one parent because the court prioritizes what is in the best interests of the child, which is the most decisive factor for child custody in the Family law Courts in California.
The Judge reaches the final decision after hearing the parent’s testimony, listening to character witnesses, reviewing the state of parental interaction with the children, and reviewing evidence.
The health, welfare, and safety of the child play an important role in the child custody cases. If the Court thinks that interaction with one parent is not healthy for the child, the Court will develop a parenting plan that will be in the child’s best interest and may limit contact with that parent.
If the child is old and mature enough to have a valid opinion, the Court may consider the child’s input. The older the child is, the more value their input will have on the final decision. As the California Family Law places high importance on the best interests of the child, the Court must consider the evidence, facts, and law in order to determine what is the best interest of the child.
Want to know more about the child custody and discuss your case with a professional attorney? Call the Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC today at (800)769-4748 to get a free 30-minute consultation with one of the most knowledgeable Divorce attorneys in San Diego.