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How is Child Custody Determined?

Understanding How a Judge Decides Custody

Any divorce is complicated and emotional, but none more so than those involving children. Deciding who gets custody over the children is far more complex than dividing property and assets, as it concerns the well-being of your loved ones and can affect your relationships. If you are anxious about the process of determining custody, our Pasadena divorce attorney can give you the peace of mind knowing that the best interests of you and your children are her top priority.

Our primary divorce attorney, Christine Gille, is board certified in family law, which gives her the distinction of a legal specialist and gives you the advantage of expert counsel. Gille Kaye Law Group, PC is passionate about helping families reach resolutions that work in the best interest of all affected parties, especially children. Our top priority is ensuring that a child's well-being is accommodated in family law matters, while protecting the interests of our clients.

Factors That Contribute to Custody Decisions

In California, as well as most states, judges must prioritize the best interests of any children and operate under the assumption that it is optimal for parents to share joint custody. This way, a child can develop and maintain relationships with both parents equally. However, their ultimate decision will take into consideration each parent's ability to raise and care for a child's safety, health, and well-being.

Judges will consider the following factors:

  • Any existing risk to the child's health or safety
  • Criminal history of parents
  • History of abuse between parents or to the child
  • Degree of change to the child's environment
  • The co-parenting skills of the parents
  • The preference of an older child

Essentially, unless there is a prevalent threat to the well-being of the children, a judge will favor joint custody arrangements. Thus if you believe that your ex-spouse is incapable of raising your children, it is paramount that you retain the representation of a highly-skilled attorney who can help you prove it.

What a Joint Custody Arrangement Might Look Like

In most cases, a custody battle in California will end in an order for joint custody. This may include a parenting plan or schedule that a judge determines; or he may allow you and your spouse to develop a plan that works for both of you. Either way, there are a number of options for developing a schedule that allows children to spend equal time with both parents.

A parenting plan may include:

  • Alternating weeks of custody – whereby children live with each parent every other week
  • Rotations that alternate weekends – each parent would have the children for two set week days and then spend every other weekend with them
  • Alternating weeks with an overnight visit – the children would spend a night each week with the parent they are not living with

These schedules can become complicated, for both you, your ex-spouse, and your children, so it is essential that you and your co-parent collaborate. If a parent becomes stubborn or lazy in adhering to the parenting plan, you do have options for enforcing it. Additionally, if your parenting plan becomes too difficult to follow, our Pasadena family lawyer can help you modify it.

Gain Expert Legal Representation

Determining child custody and arranging a plan that works for you can be difficult and stressful. With the help of Gille Kaye Law Group, PC, however, it doesn't have to be. We have the knowledge of family law and the compassion of a dedicated law firm that you need to reach an agreeable resolution. Our mission is to help families through difficult legal matters while mitigating any additional stress or tension on your children. Schedule your free case evaluation with our Pasadena divorce lawyer to learn how we can help you.

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  • Decades of winning legal experience
  • Expert counsel from a Board Certified Family Law Specialist
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