Understanding Child Custody in California
Among the most challenging issues to resolve in a California divorce is child custody. The judges who evaluate California custody cases should consider the best interests of the children before concluding how the parents will share time with them. Both parents start with equal rights to custody; California law does not permit a judge to give a preference to either parent based upon their sex.
California law follows two guiding policies in determining the interests of the child. A court should be primarily concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of the child and the children must also benefit from frequent and continuous contact with both parents.
California courts have to consider several factors affecting the health and safety of a child. For instance, judges might not provide custody or visitation to the father of a child conceived following the father’s rape of the mother.
California child custody law does not allow judges to grant custody or unsupervised visitation to a parent who has committed first-degree murder of the other child’s parent or has been convicted of some kind of sexual or physical child abuse. They will only be granted this if the judge realizes that the history of the parent would not pose any risk to the child. A court can also limit custody or visitation if a parent has engaged in partner or child abuse that did not result in a court conviction, as long as the abuse is independently collaborated by a reliable source, like a child protective agency.
Habitual or continual alcohol abuse or illegal drug use are factors that are also considered in the health and safety of a child. For a parent convicted because of this, they may need independent confirmation, like a written report from a medical or any other licensed rehabilitation facility.
According to Sacramento law, the courts must consider the wishes of a child mature enough to choose the custody. The courts must also consider the parent who is more likely to encourage a good relationship between them and the child. Judges can be very unfavorable to a parent whose actions hinder the relationship of the child and the other parent. For instance, if a judge finds out that a parent knowingly made a false sexual abuse allegation against the other parent to ruin their contact with the child, the court can prohibit custody or visitation of the accusing parent.