Child Custody & Support | Redding CA
Deciding who gets custody of children in a divorce can be complicated and difficult. In a perfect world, judges would make this decision based solely on the best interests of the children. This is the goal, but it is not always that simple. A child’s best interests are defined in different ways by different states, and exact criteria is frequently not listed in each state’s family law codes.
Judges Dislike Forcing Change on Children
Most states have best interest standards which prevent children from being taken out of one home and forced to move into another. If, before filing for divorce, parents have lived separately for a while, the parent with whom the children have been living often has an advantage, especially if that parent has remained in the family home. When parents have not been living apart for a time, the one who typically cared for the children during the marriage may have an edge.
Judges Encourage Parents to Put Their Children First
Courts want parents in the process of divorce to look beyond any hard feelings they may have for each other and ensure that their children are able to spend time with both of them. Courts disapprove of interference with visitation.
The Preferences of Children Count
In some states, when deciding custody, judges will factor in a child’s wishes. This doesn’t mean that they will automatically place the child with the desired parent, but they will consider a child’s preferences when making a decision. This is especially true when the children are teenagers.
Domestic Violence Will be Considered
Judges must consider domestic violence in some states if either parent has such a history. However, if it is discovered that one parent has falsely accused the other parent of violence, this false accusation can be held against the parent who makes it.
Custody is not Affected by Some Issues
Spouses frequently think that a judge’s decision regarding custody should be influenced by the other parent’s bad behavior. While some state courts may consider such issues as a parent’s moral character, many judges don’t take this into account. An exception might occur when the child is directly affected by such behavior. For example, if a parent has had an affair, but the child is unaware of it, the judge will probably not factor the affair into a custody decision. On the other hand, a parent with a history of drinking and driving might be denied custody due to the danger in which this places the children.