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How Courts in San Diego, California, Determine Child Custody Issues

The end of a marriage often brings with it contentious legal issues, such as child custody and visitation, that can lock former spouses in a long and ugly legal battle. The children, however, are often caught in the crossfire as each parent may fight to obtain sole custody over them. In California, law and jurisprudence provide courts with direction on how to decide child custody cases.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody refers to the care, custody and control over the child. It can be sole or shared. Parties who enjoy shared custody need not consult the other for every decision involving the child nor do they have to share equal time with their child.

Ideally, children of divorced parents must be able to spend consistent quality time with both parents. They can enter into a parenting agreement on their own and have their agreement approved in court. When the parties are unable to arrive at a mutually acceptable custody agreement, the court may make that decision for them using important criteria for deciding child custody.

Best Interests of the Child

There are no hard and fast rules in determining child custody. However, the courts follow the inflexible criterion of the “best interests of the child”.Numerous factors are considered in determining the “best interests of the child”. They include:

  • The age of the child
  • Health of the child
  • Emotional ties between parents and the child
  • Ability of the parents to care for the child
  • History of violence or domestic abuse by one parent against the child or the other parent
  • Substance abuse by either parent
  • Child’s ties to school, home and his or her community

Entering into a parenting agreement out of court can help the parties arrive at a mutually acceptable arrangement and can significantly reduce your legal expenses that are associated with long and drawn out court battles.

If you or your spouse are considering divorce, the family law attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel, L.L.P. can help you negotiate and discuss the terms of a parenting agreement or prepare your case for child custody. We also handle other family law cases such as divorce, child and spousal support, and property division.

We invite you to contact us today at (858) 935-6211 to discuss your particular situation.

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