The Court uses the best interest of the child(ren) standard. What most people do not realize is that California is a no fault state so the court is not concerned with who had an affair, who hid money, or who asked for the divorce. When it comes to child custody and visitation, the court takes into consideration several factors when determining what is in the best interest of the child(ren). These factors include the following:
- The age of the child(ren);
- The relationship of the child(ren)’s parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child(ren)’s welfare;
- The preference of the child(ren), if old enough to express a meaningful preference;
- The duration and adequacy of the child(ren)’s current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
- The stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child(ren);
- The motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child(ren) love, affection and guidance;
- The child(ren)’s adjustment to the child(ren)’s present home, school and community;
- The capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child(ren) and the other parent, including physical stress;
- The capacity of each parent to cooperate in childcare decisions;
- Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent’s willingness to use these methods;
- The effect on the child(ren) if one parent has sole authority over the child(ren)s upbringing;
- History of Domestic Violence; and
- All other factors having reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child(ren).
During a child custody and visitation hearing it is better to focus on what is in the best interest of the child(ren) rather than spend your time bashing the other parent. We understand divorce is an emotional rollercoaster and you may want to target the other parent and point out all of their faults. We caution you however, that unless it has to do with their ability to parent, (i.e. take care of the children in a safe, loving, stable environment), then it may not be relevant.
Concerns about the other parents neglect, lack of discipline, drug and/or alcohol use, family dynamics, past criminal history, and/or abuse of a spouse or child is relevant and should be brought up both in Family Court Services mediation and in Court. If you have witnesses or collateral contacts you want the Court to hear from, have them write a declaration for the Court or come the day of the hearing as a witness. More evidence helps your case and your attorney can help you decide what is relevant and what is not when it comes to what is in the best interest of your child(ren).
We are here to help. Contact Cage & Miles, LLP for a free 30 minute consultation today!