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What does the court consider regarding a parent's situation?

There are many factors in play during a child custody case, including what the child wants, what the parents want, where the parents live, why the divorce is happening, and much more. One thing that the court will also consider is simply each parent's own living situation. Some factors that may be considered include:

1. How much the parent makes. This isn't to cut an unemployed parent out of the equation, but just to recognize that a parent with more assets and funds may be able to provide things that a parent with less money simply cannot provide.

2. The living situation itself. The court wants to put the child in a stable situation. If one parent lives in his or her own home, while the other lives with roommates on a month-to-month lease, that can make a difference. These are important things to keep in mind when splitting up before the divorce is finalized.

3. The type of work the parent does. Much of the time, the focus here is on travel. If a parent has to fly overseas on business trips every other week, that may not be the ideal living situation for a child, who will often end up being cared for by someone else.

4. Any dangers and hazards. These come into play if there are reports of abuse or criminal history. If the court feels the home is a dangerous place for the child to live, the other parent has a much better chance to get custody. Dangers could include a lack of maintenance or the presence of illegal drugs or weapons.

As your life is being examined by the court, make sure you know what rights you have in California and what the court is looking for.

Source: WiseGeek, "What Factors Influence Child Custody Cases?," accessed April 06, 2016

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