How Courts Make Decisions Relating To Children
Whether a child custody case is resolved in court or by a family court judge, the decision usually comes down to what is in the best interest of the child. Factors that impact this determination include:
- The child’s age
- The parents’ living situations
- How safe the child is
- How close the child is to either parent
The family law attorneys at Rombro & Manley LLP in Manhattan Beach, California, will work with you to make sure that your case is fairly represented so that your custody rights are respected.
What Is Meant By The “Best Interests Of The Child”?
In determining child custody during a divorce, the court will always prioritize what is in the best interests of the child rather than base their decision exclusively off what the parents want. The judge will ultimately determine the custody arrangement by assessing a number of factors and deciding which situation best suits the child’s needs.
At Rombro & Manley LLP, our custody law attorneys fight to protect your child’s best interest and your rights as a parent.
Factors That Affect Child Custody
In California, the court will assess a number of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child in a custody case. In most cases, they prioritize maintaining consistency and stability in a child’s life. Because the separation of one’s parents is already a difficult event, they will prefer to leave the child’s routine unchanged as much as possible in order to avoid causing excessive stress or trauma.
Younger children usually need more hands-on care than older children. The “tender years doctrine”, which dictated that the mother of a child should take custody of a child four years old or younger, is no longer the predominant legal principle in these cases. However, most judges will defer to the parent who has cared for the child the most. For older children, sometimes the court will take into consideration the child’s wishes, as well.
Parent’s living situation
The court will also consider each parent’s living situation and how it affects the child. Sometimes the parent who lives with or spends the most time with the child will be granted custody to maintain continuity and stability. The more stable your living situation and the more involved you are, the better your chances of convincing a judge that you deserve custody.
Evidence of parenting ability
The court wants to be certain that the parent requesting custody is capable of meeting the physical and emotional needs of the child. Parents must be able to demonstrate that they can provide shelter, clothing, food, medical care, education, guidance, love and support for their child.
Safety of the child
If a judge believes handing custody to a parent would at all compromise the child’s safety, they will deny custody. If evidence of abuse or neglect exists, the judge will reduce that parent’s contact with the child.
Demonstrating That You Have Your Child’s Best Interests At Heart
How can you show a judge you have your children’s best interests at heart? One of the best ways to do this is to demonstrate that you have taken an active role in their lives. For example, if you participated in extracurricular activities or have made major life choices to ensure your child is cared for, a judge may consider this as evidence of your dedication to taking care of your child. The court may also factor in whether one parent is making a greater effort to maintain an amicable relationship with the other.
Make Sure Your Case Receives The Best Representation
The team of child custody lawyers at Rombro & Manley LLP is here to help you in a difficult time. We will protect your rights and always prioritize the needs of your children. We will take on your custody battle and treat you with compassion throughout. Contact us online or call 310-545-1900 today to schedule a consultation with a skilled custody lawyer.