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Facts That Are Relevant in a Contested Child Custody Case in California

If you have questions about child custody in California, you are not alone. There are thousands of people with thousands of questions about child custody. But the most obvious and common question of all is, “How does a parent get custody of their child in California?” In order to determine your best-case scenario and how to achieve it before you are in the midst of your own child custody case, consider how child custody is determined by the California court, what they are likely to find as an appropriate child custody determination, and what factors they rely on when making their decision.

What Factors Does the Court Consider When Determining Child Custody in California?

When making a child custody determination, a California court may consider:

1) Child’s age and if the child is of sufficient age and capacity, child’s wishes*

2) Child’s health

3) Emotional ties between the child and each of their parents

4) The parents’ abilities to care for the child

5) Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or other family violence

6) Substance abuse by either or both parents

7) Child’s ties to home, school, other relatives, the community, etc.

* Sufficient age and capacity are determined at the court’s discretion, but many California courts set the age at 12. If the child is 14 or older, they are permitted by law to address the court regarding custody/visitation if they wish to do so unless the court determines that doing so in not in the child’s best interest (with their reason for this finding stated on the record).

What Factors Does the Court NOT Consider When Determining Child Custody in California?

1) Sex of Parent

2) Race

3) Physical Disability

4) Religion

5) Economic Advantage of Parent’s Comparative Income

6) Sexual Orientation

7) Parent’s Sexual Relations Knowing what the California court does and does not consider a relevant factor for determining child custody is the first step in preparing for your own child custody hearing. If you have questions about child custody in California or how to get child custody in California, please get in touch with one of the experienced family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm.

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