Child custody is the most complicated and contested part of the divorce procedure. That's where a skilled child custody attorney comes. After divorce, parents must divide their time to correctly spent it with the child. The court follows the simple principle of doing what's in the best interest of the child. It can be a callous decision to take for the judges because there is no fixed formula.
An experienced Child Custody Attorney Orange, CA understands how tough it can be to raise a child with both parents living apart. They also know the importance of this legal issue on a personal level.
Types of Child Custody-
There are usually two types of child custody physical custody and legal custody. Physical or residential custody is deciding where the child will live. Legal custody grants rights to the parent to make crucial decisions regarding a child's life and betterment. Three significant decisions come under legal custody include the child's schooling, health, and religious upbringing.
Both custody can be "joint" or "sole." Sole legal custody gives the right to only one parent to make major decisions about a child, and joint legal custody grants both parents equal right to make significant decisions about the child's upbringing. Likewise, sole physical custody gives considerable powers to the custodial parent, and the child has to spend most of the time with this parent. The other parent will have visitation rights. Joint physical custody gives each parent the right to spend an equal amount of time with the child.
How the Court Makes Child Custody Decisions-
Courts will consider:
- If the child is old enough then the wishes of the child
- The primary caretaker of the child
- The ability as a parent
- Any history of domestic or child abuse
- Any history of drugs or alcohol abuse
- How cordial are the parents with each other
- The mental and physical health of both parents
- Work schedule of each parent
The court does not consider the factors like:
- The parents' race.
- The parents' religion.
- The sexual orientation of the parents.
- Sexual behavior of the parents.
But the court might consider these factors if it negatively affects the child's best interest.
In these cases, the court will take testimony from both parents after ordering a hearing. The court might also order witnesses to testify, such as professional psychologists who have treated the parent or child, close relatives of the child, and also other significant-close ones.
The court may investigate further, if it feels necessary to the judges, such as sending professional psychologists or social workers to check the parents' homes and interview anyone they think is essential to the issue. After scrutinizing all the pieces of evidence, the judge will make a decision and issue the custody order.
Custody Order Modification-
Parents can file for a modification of a custody order, but only after providing significant evidence of change in circumstances. Courts prefer not to make children go back and forth between parents and suffer more than it is required and will only modify its current custody order if it has a legit reason for doing so.