When parents get divorced or even just separate, their children are impacted in many different ways. How the children’s time and custody with each parent will be can have majorly impact both their lives, as well as their parents’. This process and decision making can be very difficult and stressful on all parties involved. An experienced Central Valley child custody attorney can help with the process.
Factors Impacting Child Custody
There are different factors that can significantly impact the child custody process in the state of California. Some of these factors include:
- The best interests of the child
- Which parent is more likely to encourage frequent visits with the other parent
- Child’s wishes, which are only considered if the child is of a certain age and maturity level (generally over age 12)
- History of domestic violence
- History of drug use
Children have the right to be with both parents, given that theu remain safe and cared for in the appropriate manner when with the parent. When you go through divorce, many aspects of your children’s care are up for negotiation. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process to make sure you and your children get the best outcome possible during the custody battle. Custody of children during divorce falls into two major categories: legal and physical custody.
Two Categories of Legal Custody
Legal custody of children can be:
- Joint: both parents share the right and responsibility to make important decisions with regard to their children’s health, education and well-being
- Sole: only one parent has the right to make the important decisions impacting their children
If you and your former spouse have joint custody, you both have the right to make decisions about:
- School or child care
- Religious activities or institutions
- Psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy needs
- Doctor, dentist, orthodontist, or other health professional
- Sports, summer camp, vacation, or extracurricular activities
- Residence (where the children will live)
However, although you have to share the decision-making process, you don’t both have to agree on every decision. Either of you can make a decision alone, but you must avoid any problems. Otherwise you will end up back in court and may risk losing custody altogether.
Physical custody is also divided into joint and sole custody. If you have joint physical custody, it means your children live with both parents. Sole or primary custody means that your children live with only one parent most of the time and visit the other parent.
“Best Interest” Factors Considered During Custody
California custody laws allow courts with a large degree of discretion in determining what is in the best interest of a child during divorce. A judge can consider a number of different factors when determining custody, including:
- A child’s age and desires
- Parental stability
- Parental criminal history
- Ability of the parent to care for the child
Call an Experienced Central Valley Child Custody Attorney
If you are involved in a child custody battle or simply have questions regarding child custody, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley child custody attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.