Some Factors Considered by the Court When Making Custody Orders

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blue typography of the letters "P" and "A"
blue typography of the letters "P" and "A"

Child custody in a California divorce may be awarded to either parent, gender does not matter. The options available before the court include sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents. In order to make custodial orders, the court must consider the child’s best interest. The following factors are just a few of the factors that will be instrumental in the court’s decision:

  • Each party’s relationship with the child
  • The child’s safety, health, and welfare
  • The historical frequency and nature of contact of each parent with the child
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
  • The continual or habitual use of drugs or alcohol or continual or habitual illegal use of drugs by either parent
  • Which parent has a higher likelihood of permitting the child to maintain continuing and frequent contact and communication with the other parent

If a parent has moved out of the family home or is temporarily absent, the court may ignore this fact while deciding child custody or visitation, if one of the following facts holds true:

  • The parent’s absence was brief, and during the period of absence, he or she demonstrated an interest in maintaining child custody or visitation, the parent makes a reasonable effort to keep continuous contact with the child, and the parent’s conduct shows no intent of child abandonment
  • The parent left following an act or threat of domestic violence by the other parent

The courts in California will also take into account one parent’s attempts to interfere with or obstruct the other parent’s normal contact or relationship with the child, except when a protective or restraining order has been issued against the other parent.

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