California essentially defines child custody as a court’s determination of what is in the best interests of the children when making any orders regarding custody and to ensure that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. For many, child custody becomes a legal matter upon a divorce or separation. If you are a parent seeking child custody in the State of California, it is important to know what can affect your case.
Identifying Legal Custody in California
In California, there main types of custody orders are:
- Joint Custody – Under the California Family Code Section 3003-3004,
- “Joint legal custody” means that both parents will share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.
- “Joint physical custody” means that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way so as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents
- Sole Custody – Under the California Family Code Section 3006-3007
- “Sole legal custody” means that one parent will have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child. “Sole physical custody” means that a child will reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to order visitation.
California Court Decisions Based on the Best Interests of the Minor
When California courts are involved in custody cases, they will always make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. In making a determination on what is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider all of the following elements:
- The age of the child,
- The health and wellbeing of the child,
- Each of the parents’ capability to care for the child,
- The emotional relationship between the child and the parents,
- History of domestic abuse,
- History of drug use or alcohol consumption,
- The location of the child’s school,
- The child’s involvement in sports or community programs
Win Your Custody Battles; Seek the Legal Support of a Qualified Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a custody battle with your former spouse or partner, it is important to demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the child to reside with you. Depending on the facts of your case, there are multiple points of reference that can strengthen your case for more custody. Consider speaking to a qualified family law attorney who can help you demonstrate your strong aptitude to care for your child.