Child custody and the ‘best interests of the child’ standard

| Feb 12, 2021 | Child Custody

Many parents going through a divorce in California may be concerned about how much time they will be able to spend with their child post-divorce. The idea of not being able to tuck their child into bed every night or even worse, being kept from seeing their child altogether, is painful. However, parents should feel encouraged to hear that courts in California tend to favor custody arrangements that allow both parents to spend time with the child.

How is custody determined in California?

In California, there is no presumption that either the mother or the father should be awarded custody based on their gender alone or based on the age or sex of the child. Even if the child’s parents were never married, they both have the right to child custody or visitation. This is also true even if a parent has a physical disability, a different lifestyle than their ex, different religious beliefs. A parent’s sexual orientation also will not presumptively grant them, or deny them, custody or visitation rights. Instead, courts in California will make child custody decisions based on the “best interests of the child.”

What is the “best interests of the child” standard?

Under California law, judges must consider the best interests of the child when making custody decision. These factors include the child’s age and health, the emotional ties between each parent and the child, each parent’s ability to care for the child, any history of abuse and the child’s ties to their school, home and community.

Learn more about child custody in California

Ultimately, this post does not contain legal advice. Parents in California who have child custody questions are encouraged to explore our firm’s child custody webpage for further information.

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