How California determines the “best interests of the child”

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How California determines the “best interests of the child”

When you and your child’s other parent end your relationship and are unable to agree about custody and parenting time, you may task California’s family court system with coming up with an arrangement for you. When making decisions about child custody, family courts review the same set of factors. However, how much weight each factor holds may vary based on your child’s age, among other considerations.

Per the California State Legislature, the following are some of the areas the state considers when making decisions about parenting time and custody.

The health, safety and welfare of your child

Ultimately, the state seeks to create a custody arrangement that helps preserve the health, safety and welfare of your child. Expect the state’s family courts to consider how much each of you prioritizes these areas and put the child first when making custody decisions.

Whether there is any history of abuse

If there is any evidence or history of abuse between a parent and child, between you and your child’s other parent or between one parent and another party one of you is dating, this may impact custody decisions.

The nature of the existing parent-child relationships

How much time and attention each of you has given to raising your shared child thus far may also have a hand in custody decisions. For example, if you have been the primary caretaker for your child while the other parent has spent very little time caring for him or her, this may boost your custody chances.

When possible and appropriate, California courts often prioritize having a child spend time in the homes of both parents.