Going through a divorce is a challenging time in anyone’s life, but it can be complex for children to comprehend the implications. One of the most contentious issues in divorce is custody arrangements, as many parents want to have their children full-time. However, the best interest of the child will always be the most important thing to many courts. If you’re wondering why shared custody isn’t the automatic option, you’ll want to keep reading and contact Los Angeles child custody attorneys for further guidance to help find the best arrangement for your family.
What Factors Influence Custody?
In California, child custody is not always 50/50. Instead, it is decided based on the best interest of the child. To determine the custody arrangement, the judge will examine different factors.
To begin the ruling, the judge will assess both parents on an equal basis, operating under the assumption they are both equally fit to care for the child. This means they will start with a 50/50 decision without bias toward one parent. However, they will examine the evidence to find the best situation for the child. These factors include:
- How old the child is
- How emotionally attached the child is to each parent
- The parent’s ability to care for the child
- The location of where each parent lives in relation to schools and friends
- Whether or not a parent has a history of physical abuse or drug use
While these are not the only factors in consideration, these do play a significant role in determining custody. In California, if the child is over 14, the judge will also take their preference into consideration if they are emotionally mature enough.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you’re going through a divorce and child custody is a formidable topic, ensuring you enlist the help of an attorney is essential. Though some parents may be able to work out a plan on amicable terms, this is not always the case. Having quality legal representation is vital to ensure your parental rights are protected.
Your attorney can help gather evidence to present to the court about why you should have primary custody of your child. For example, if they find out your ex plans on moving to another state, they can use this as reasoning to determine that your children should remain with you so they don’t have to change schools. Similarly, if they are abusing their visitation time before a judgment is determined, this can help serve as evidence that they aren’t mature enough to follow the legal custody plan.
If you need representation in court to ensure your children’s best interest is guaranteed, you’ll want to reach out to the Zitser Family Law Group. We can help you navigate the legal process to fight for the best outcome for your situation. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how we can aid you.