Divorced Parents Each Holding One Hand of their child between them

How Is Child Custody Determined
in California?

Law Office of Shelly Jean John Aug. 29, 2022

Determining child custody is among the vital divorce matters that must be settled before a marriage can be dissolved. If the separating or divorcing parents are unable to decide on a mutually-agreeable parenting plan, the California court will be called upon to help award custody based on the best interest and welfare of the child. An experienced California family law attorney can enlighten you about how child custody works in the state.

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have devoted my career to providing outstanding legal services and guiding clients in divorce and child custody-related matters. I have the tools necessary to discuss your personal situation, enlighten you about your possible custody options, and walk you through every step of the legal process. My firm is proud to serve clients across Riverside, Ontario, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, California.

Who Determines Custody?

Child custody is among the vital issues in a California divorce that are often fiercely contested. However, who determines custody usually depends on the surrounding circumstances of the divorce. Essentially, child custody issues may be resolved through any of these options:

Non-Contested Custody: In a collaborative or non-contested divorce, the parents will work together to decide mutually agreeable custody terms. The agreed-upon terms will be documented and presented to the California court for official approval.

Contested Custody: In contrast, in a contested divorce, both parents are not able to agree on the key terms of custody. The California court will intervene and help determine custody based on the child's best interests.

An experienced family attorney can enlighten you about the factors that are considered to determine custody in a contested divorce and advocate for your family's best interests.

What Factors Are Considered in the Determination?

In a contested divorce, the California court will consider the following factors to determine child custody:

  • The child's health, safety, and welfare.

  • The physical and mental condition of each parent.

  • The nature and amount of contact with both parents.

  • The child's reasonable preference (if he or she is at least 14 years old and mature enough).

  • Whether either parent has a history of violence, abuse, or neglect against the child or the other parent.

  • Whether either parent has a history of illegal use of alcohol or substance abuse.

  • Any other factor deemed relevant by the court.

A knowledgeable California divorce attorney can evaluate your unique situation and work diligently with both parties to address and resolve child custody issues amicably.

Is Joint Custody an Option?

Joint custody is an arrangement that allows both parents to share physical and legal custody. This means that both parents will share the care and decision-making responsibilities of their child. During divorce proceedings, California family courts believe that both parents' involvement will be beneficial to the child's development and wellbeing. Therefore, the court may lean towards joint custody and equal parenting time, where possible. Thus, encouraging regular contact between both parents and their children.

Is the Child's Preference Considered?

Yes, the child's reasonable parental preference will be considered by the California court when determining the custody arrangement. However, they must be at least 14 years old and mature enough.

Legal Advocacy for Your Family

In most divorce cases involving children, determining who gets custody of their child is often a contentious issue. Establishing a child custody arrangement with your estranged partner, allocating parenting time, and determining parental responsibility can make the entire process even more stressful and overwhelming. Therefore, if you need assistance navigating the child custody aspect of your divorce, consulting with an experienced family law attorney is crucial for proper guidance.

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have the competence and resources to advise and guide divorcing or separating parents through the complexities of child custody. As your legal counsel, I can review all the details of your unique circumstances and explore your available legal options. I have the experience and knowledge to work diligently with both parties to establish a feasible child custody agreement and visitation schedule and help resolve other divorce issues peacefully.
Contact my firm – the Law Office of Shelly Jean John – today to schedule a simple consultation with a trusted child custody lawyer. My firm proudly serves individuals and families across Riverside, Ontario, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, California