What Are the Three Main Facts I Must Know about California’s Child Custody Laws?

Child custody laws in California can be very confusing when you’re going through your divorce. However, custody is always one of the most critical aspects of your divorce and will significantly impact you and your child’s future life.

Accordingly, having a solid understanding of the main components of California’s child custody laws is vital to allowing you to make informed decisions about your child’s future and protect your and your child’s rights.

Under California’s law, child custody consists of two main categories: physical and custody. Let’s say you have legal custody of your child; this commonly gives you the sole right to make vital and critical decisions about a child’s life, such as where they go to school, healthcare decisions, religion, and much more.

Physical custody dictates where your child resides and primarily lives daily. Additionally, physical custody is divided into two ways: sole custody and joint custody. If you or your ex-spouse or partner have sole custody, this means only one of you has primary physical custody of your child. Joint custody means that your child spends significant time with both parents. This would not always be a 50/50 situation, but it usually is fairly split by the court.

One fact you and your ex-spouse must be aware of is that Fresno courts always make custody decisions based on your child’s best interest. This fact is paramount to every court’s custody decision and applies to other aspects of your child’s care and well-being.

Always note that any decision involved in your divorce pertaining to your child’s care, future, and more is going to be vital to your child’s upbringing and future. Therefore, you must be fully informed about your legal options; the best way is to work closely and thoroughly with a skilled, experienced, and empathetic Fresno child custody lawyer.

What May the Judge Consider When Deciding What’s in the Best Interests of the Child?

As stated, the Fresno (and California court) always base all their decisions on the “best interests of the child.” This is always a determining factor when considering what type of custody suits your unique situation, and this decision and this standard are taken very seriously.

Accordingly, the judge will analyze and assess your case’s various aspects when making this custody decision.

Some of the factors the court may consider are;

  •  If you and your ex-spouse agree or disagree on a custody arrangement.
  • How old is your child, and what is the sex of the child?
  • What arrangement will best fit your child’s needs, such as emotional, material, medical, etc., and which of you can best meet these needs?
  • The type of home either of you can provide for your child.
  • You and your partner’s age, stability, and mental and physical well-being.
  • Does your child have a positive and enriching relationship with both of you?
  • Your child’s relationship with any brothers or sisters, and much more.

Custody (whether sole or joint) is always legally challenging but exceptionally critical to the courts and your family’s new life. But, these laws, like many others, are in flux, so whatever type of custody you seek, the professional knowledge, advice, and guidance of a well-versed Fresno child custody lawyer is mandatory.

What Happens If My Custody Is “Contested” By My Spouse or Partner?

Remember that it’s always best that you and your spouse reach a viable custody agreement before you go before the Fresno courts; unfortunately, this is not always possible.

If you and your skilled Fresno child custody lawyer cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, then you have a case of “contested” custody, and things can go sideways.

If your custody is contested, you must consider what’s best for your child, or assuredly, the Fresno courts will. If both of you can, at the least, reach a fair and amicable custody plan, it’s always in your best interests to do so.

However, situations may often require litigation to fully protect your children’s interests; this is never ideal but may be necessary.

As parents, it’s always your primary concern to do what’s best for your child, and you can request a hearing to determine if the issues between you are valid and attempt to find some common ground.

If you disagree, the Fresno court follows the law to ensure the order protects your children, and the court will decide for you. This is a prime area where the skilled and well-honed negotiating skills of your empathetic and thorough Fresno child custody lawyer will prove invaluable. Your lawyer is highly experienced in finding ways to find a middle ground and not have the judge decide your and your child’s future.

What Is the “Status Quo” Rule and How Does It Affect Child Custody?

In most cases, if you’ve worked out a viable custody arrangement and it is working well for your child, the California courts will always lean towards maintaining this current stability.

However, your lawyer, fighting for your rights, will always explain that no California custody law states, “Keep things the same no matter what.” However, the court does value stability, but what’s in your child’s best interests always comes first.

Life constantly changes, and any significant change may affect your custody arrangement. Let’s say you’re the primary custodial parent facing a significant change, such as moving further away, changing jobs, etc. When you apply for a custody change request, your lawyer will emphasize how maintaining the status quo benefits your child.

Additionally, if you want more time with your child, you must be prepared to fully explain why this request is needed and possibly show proof of that need. This is especially true if the status quo is temporary or forced upon you and your child over your lawyer’s objections.

Remember that the California custody laws desire to provide both parents frequent and regular contact when it serves the children; however, never feel you’re stuck with an unfair status quo.

I Need Help With Custody of My Child; How Should I Proceed?

Suppose you’re going through a divorce or must change your custody arrangement. In that case, you must remember that numerous custody arrangements can be brought before the Freson court, many of which can work for your family.

However, California’s custody laws are complex, and to prevail, it’s critical that you thoroughly discuss your case with a professional, skilled, and highly experienced Fresno child custody lawyer.
You and your spouse may disagree on the details but usually agree that nothing is more important than your child’s rights, welfare, and well-being.

The Fresno-based Bains Law Office has a successful history of providing empathetic, professional, and creative legal counsel to divorcing couples and resolving seemingly untenable situations. Call them today at (559) 582-8924, and they will prioritize your issues and work tirelessly to fight for you and your child’s future.