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A Court’s Considerations When Determining the Best Interests of the Child

Posted on in Child Custody & Visitation

California custody lawyerIf you and your ex cannot agree on a child custody schedule, a court will get involved to make one. When making this determination, California law instructs that courts must consider the best interest of the child.

This means that the desires of the parents are not given much weight, except as to how they relate to the child’s best interest. Also, it should be noted that this calculus is related only to physical custody not legal custody. Legal custody refers to the rights of the parents to make all critical decisions that affect the child's life.

The law further outlines what factors should be weighed in deciding what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Your Campbell family law attorney can discuss the specific circumstances in your case, but generally, these factors include:

  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child;
  • A parent’s history of abuse against: any child he or she has taken care of; the other child’s parent; a parent, current spouse or romantic cohabitant;
  • The nature and amount of contact with both parents; and
  • The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, alcohol or prescribed controlled substances by either parent.

Thus, a court will look at what custody arrangement will keep the child in contact with both parents. Also, courts are often reluctant to break apart siblings in a custody order. If the child is old enough to have an opinion on a custody schedule, the court will give weight to such opinions.

A Campbell, CA Child Custody Lawyer Can Make Your Best Case

As you can see, the considerations listed in the law are somewhat vague and open-ended. This means that the judge deciding your case has a substantial amount of leeway when making his or her decision.

In some cases, this can be a good thing because it allows the judge to get a feel for the parents and children and make a decision tailored to the needs of the family. However, for parents, this means that they must make a cogent and persuasive argument as to how the court should apply the best interest of the child factors.

A family law attorney understands what arguments will sway the court the most, giving you an increased chance of getting the custody arrangement that would best work for you and your children. Contact a dedicated Los Gatos child custody attorney at the Ventresca Law Firm at 408-395-8822 to set up your first meeting with our firm today. We service clients in the Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, and San Jose areas.

 

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=3011.&lawCode=FAM

http://www.courts.ca.gov/15872.htm

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