6 Things to Know About How California Courts Decide on Child Custody

When going to the courts to determine child custody, it is important to know what to expect. This starts with learning about how the courts in California make decisions regarding child custody. The courts will work to put the “best interests of the children” first, but that is pretty vague and can be confusing to many people. Read on to learn about several specific factors that the courts will consider, and how they can impact the custody of your children.

Factors Impacting Child Custody in California

In an attempt to put the wellbeing of children first, the courts will weigh many different factors before making a ruling on which parent will have primary custody, and what type of parenting time schedule will be assigned. Read the following things that a judge will likely consider in your case. Please keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive, but rather highlights some common factors:

  • Age of the Children – Very young children who are exclusively breastfeeding without supplements will typically have to be with the mother most of the time. Older children often do very well spending a more equal amount of time between the parents.
  • Primary Parent in the Past – If one parent did most of the parenting prior to going to court, the judge will likely to keep this system in place to the extent possible.
  • History of Violence or Abuse – If there has been any abuse by either parent in the past, the courts will weigh this very heavily.
  • Ability to Support the Children – Parents need to be able to support their children financially, and emotionally. The court does not consider a parents income in determining child custody.  Income is used solely in the child support calculation.  
  • Schedules & Stability of Children – Courts often want to try to keep the schedules of children as unaffected as possible. To this end, they will look at things like school schedules, sports schedules, and other parts of their lives, and work to make child custody arrangements around that.
  • Wishes of the Children – The courts can factor in the desires of the kids. As they get older, their wishes will carry more and more weight. In most cases, the court will not directly ask the child but will use a mediator or evaluator to relay the child’s wishes to the court.

Making a Strong Case

All of the factors above, and any others that the courts will take into account, will be based on the information that the courts have available. This means having a strong attorney who can present a strong case in your favor can dramatically help to get you the results you’re looking for. Contact The Grey Legal Group to schedule a consultation and go over all your legal options.

The following two tabs change content below.

The Grey Legal Group, APC

At The Grey Legal Group, we take pride in getting to know our clients personally. Whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody issues, or problems enforcing divorce orders, you can feel confident in our knowledgeable, hands-on approach.

Latest posts by The Grey Legal Group, APC (see all)