California Child Custody Guide

puzzle pieces and letters spelling custody

Like many other states, in California, the child’s best interest is the most vital factor when a judge makes a decision on who will be awarded custody. However, this phrase can be ambiguous to understand, especially for parents beginning to start the custody process.

These decisions are not considered based on the parents’ needs, but rather, they are based on the safety and security of the child, along with several other factors just so long as the child is proven to be free from harm. Parents going through a divorce might not be familiar with these laws, but Schweitzer Law Partners is here to explain in this guide

Types of Custody

In California, parents have legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows the parent to make important decisions regarding the child. Physical custody describes where the child lives.

Legal custody allows parents to decide the following for the child:

  • The child’s healthcare

  • The child’s education

  • The child’s religion

  • The child’s day-to-day care

  • The child’s general well-being

When there is a challenge for custody by either parent, a judge bases their decision on what is best for the child. The court does not prefer one parent over the other, meaning they will not automatically grant custody to the mother or to the father, regardless of the child’s gender and age. Either parent has a fair chance of custody.

Should there be any other parties involved in a custody hearing, the judge looks to the parents before any other potential guardian to ensure that, if possible, the child is raised by either or both parents.

To determine which parent is best suited for custody, the court will look at several factors.

Factors Determining Custody

When it comes to custody laws in the state of California, it is dependent on the courts to decide who will receive custodial rights of the child. This decision is taken very seriously and the court will be extra cautious to ensure the child will not be put in a harmful situation.

Some factors the court will look at when making this decision include:

  • The child’s age

  • The child’s health

  • The emotional tie between the parents and the child

  • Whether there is a history of violence or substance abuse in the family

  • Where the child currently primarily resides and their ties to their school, home, or their community

Typically in custody cases, the court prefers custodial situations that allow both parents to be involved in the child’s life, which means joint custody is preferred if possible. Despite the bias of joint custody, the court is still allowed to make whichever decision best suits the child as the child is the primary concern. Being able to have a relationship with both of their parents is typically the best thing for the child.

To reiterate, a decision is usually granted to the parents who are in favor of shared custody. While this isn’t always the best option, it makes the situation much easier when everyone can work together to ensure the best upbringing for the child. The most important thing at the end of every case is that a child is safe, happy, and healthy.

Contact Our Custody Law Team

If you have custodial issues with your child’s or children’s other parent, it is in your best interest to get in touch with a Pasadena attorney. Look no further than the Law Office of Donald P. Schweitzer. We will do everything in our power to give you and your child the best possible outcome.

Contact us today at (626) 788-5225 to look into your custody options. We would love nothing more than to help you and your family.