San Antonio Divorce- Child Custody Lawyer Jason Cruz

California Child Custody Rules And What Parents Should Know

In this article, we cover significant child custody laws in California all parents should understand. Child custody attorneys know how important children are to their parents. It is vital that parents edify themselves on what influences the Family Courts in California.

Regardless whether or not the custody disagreement with the other parent is part of an undecided separation, modification, dissolution or a paternity issue, one should have a general understanding of the Family Law Courts before documents are filed.  The following is only general information.

Essential frequent and recurring contacts with parents

Parents of minor children have the same rights to child custody except when for some reason joint custody would not be in the best interests of the child.  California Family Law Courts are directed by the State legislature to guarantee the health, safety and welfare of minor children in child custody actions.  Parents are urged to share the rights and everyday jobs of child raising.

California Family Law Courts follows rules and public policy to guarantee that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or divorced. The family law judges are guided to urge parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child, except when it is in contradiction of the child’s best interest.

What is meant by the “best interest” of the child?

“Best interest” comprises the safety, health and welfare of the child.  It also includes the history of any abuse by either parent. Further it looks at the total and type of contact with both parents. It also examines the habitual or continual illegal use of a controlled substances or the habitual or continual abuse of alcohol by the parent(s).  For instance:

  • Safety:  Does the parent pose a peril to the child or does the parent have a history of irresponsible conduct?
  • Health: Is there one parent whom has illustrated him or herself more willing to care for the child’s health needs?
  • Welfare: Has either parent participated in conduct that has hindered with the general welfare and normal upbringing of the child, including issues such as education?
  • Has either parent been abusive, physically or emotionally, towards the child?
  • Has either parent been absent from the child’s life for a long duration, initiating only one parent to be the sole caretaker?
  • Does either parent have a dependency to drugs or alcohol?

A skilled family law attorney can break down these topics and go through the details of any history or incidents with the child and determine whether or not joint physical or legal custody is feasible.

Existing state of affairs and its relevance to custody

California Judges also take into account the “status quo” or historical parenting roles formed in the past and also previous behavior of the parents. For instance, “what has been should continue as long as it is in the child’s best interest. The status quo is particularly significant with younger children because of the need for constancy, everyday and expectedness in a young child’s existence.

Though, provisional removals from the home and a temporary status quo established should not be considered against the parent that moved.

If a party is absent or relocates from the family residence, the court shall not consider the absence or relocation as a factor in determining custody or visitation in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The absence or relocation is of short duration and the court finds that, during the period of absence or relocation, the party has demonstrated an interest in maintaining custody or visitation, the party maintains, or makes reasonable efforts to maintain, regular contact with the child, and the party’s behavior demonstrates no intent to abandon the child.

(2) The party is absent or relocates because of an act or acts of actual or threatened domestic or family violence by the other party.

(b) The court may consider attempts by one party to interfere with the other party’s regular contact with the child in determining if the party has satisfied the requirements of subdivision (a)”

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About the Author

Experienced family lawyer attorney Jason Cruz provides strong representation for divorce, child custody and a wide range of family law cases.

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