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2 Common Exceptions to ‘Status Quo’ Under California Child Custody Laws

In a child custody case, it’s extremely important for parents interested in custody to be aware that what is currently the status quo may sometimes remain the status quo. For example, if two parents have a schedule, they have been following for a substantial amount of time that has apparently worked for their children, the court may look to this status quo as a baseline when determining their California child custody order.

This does not mean that the family law court will always keep things the same as they currently are, but they will need to see a good reason compelling them to change the status quo. This factor used by the court to determine California child custody orders based on the best interest of the child standard is important for both custodial and noncustodial parents.

Custodial parents facing modification requests may need their attorney to advocate to the court that things should stay the same because the status quo is working. On the other hand, noncustodial parents should be prepared to explain to the court why the status quo is not in the child’s best interest. This factor is particularly significant when the status quo for custody and/or visitation is a temporary departure from the standard, agreed upon arrangement or if the status quo is something that was forced into place over one parent’s objections.

If you are a noncustodial parent, please don’t simply accept the status quo if it is not in the best interest of your child. Noncustodial parents have more options than they may realize and are not as trapped by the status quo as they may assume. There are two common exceptions that may apply in your situation.

Two Common Exceptions to “Status Quo:”

  1. Temporary Nature of Absence/Relocation of a Parent from the Family Residence: In many divorce cases, one parent moves out of the family home. This generally leaves the parent still in the home in the place of the custodial parent – the new status quo. In this situation, acting fast to gain appropriate custody and visitation can be very helpful as the courts place great significance on whether or not the absence/relocation can be defined as “temporary” in nature.
  2. Absent Parent’s Relocation or Absence Is a Result of Fear of Domestic Violence: When one parent left the family home as a result of domestic violence or fear of harm, the court will also consider this a factor when determining California child custody.

If you need to talk about how child custody is determined in California or how you can best present your California child custody case in court, please get in touch with one of the experienced family law and divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm as soon as possible.

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