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Establishing Child Custody in California- What you need to know

child custodyDivorce is a terrible ordeal for anyone to go through. It is especially difficult if you have children. When your marriage ends, you must protect your material interests. More importantly, you must protect your parental rights. A Los Angeles custody attorney can help you with this.

The Most Important Thing to Know About Child Custody in California

In all cases, the judge who evaluates and makes rulings on your case will put the interests of the child first. The court will make every effort to create a shared custody agreement. This is not done for the parents, but for the child. It is believed that the child’s best interests are served by having both parents in their lives. That said the two guiding policies when deciding child custody cases are:

  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child
  • The benefit to the child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Factors in Determining Child Custody

Before approving a child custody arrangement, a judge will consider the following factors:

  1. Health and safety

The judge must be convinced that both parents are fit and able to care for the child. The law prohibits the court from giving custody or unsupervised visitation to a parent who has been convicted of first-degree murder or physical or sexual child abuse. Evidence of drug and alcohol abuse can also lead to such a judgment. In the latter case, however, the parent can win back their parental rights with a report from a rehabilitation facility verifying the treatment received.

  1. Child’s preference

The court will also take into consideration the wishes of the child when the latter is old enough to make an intelligent choice.

  1. Co-parenting skills

The relationship with you and your ex will also be examined. The court frowns on any parent who attempts to poison or disrupt the relationship of the child with the other parent. Divorce and battles over child custody can generate intense emotions, but you must keep yours under control. If the judge discovers that you have made unfounded allegations of abuse or wrongdoing against the other parent, they are likely to restrict your custody and visitation rights.

  1. Stability

The judge will assign primary custody to the parent most able to do it. The court will not want to disrupt the schooling of the child or rip them from the home they have known. The court will also attempt to keep siblings together. They will favor an arrangement that achieves this kind of stability.

What is Shared Custody?

Shared, or joint, custody consists of an arrangement in which both parents have significant periods of physical custody. The primary caregiver will be responsible for the everyday needs of the child. However, all major decisions (schooling, health care, etc.) must be agreed to by both parents. And the parent with primary custody cannot move with the child to any location that makes it difficult for the other parent to have regular contact with them.

Why You Need a Child Custody Lawyer

You should have a Los Angeles custody attorney by your side when you enter child custody negotiations with your ex. Even if you are able to be reasonable and amicable with one another, a child custody attorney Los Angeles will ensure that no detail is missed and that you are able to parent your child.

As you and your ex move on with your lives, you will meet new people. Holidays will become more significant and the prospect of relocation may start to loom. You may need a child custody attorney in Los Angeles to navigate such situations.

If you are going through a divorce and you have children, you should contact a Torrance child custody lawyer. Stearns Kim & Stearns & Ryan are highly experienced and effective Los Angeles custody lawyers.