When a court is faced with deciding a child custody case there is always one main focus in mind, the best interest of the child or children. In order to determine the best interest of the child a court will assess many factors in order to protect and promote the well-being of a child. In California, as in most states, the court will focus on a couple key factors when determining the best interest of the child:
- Child’s age and health
- Evidence of who has carried the primary parental role
- Emotional well-being of child with each parent
- Amount of time the child spends with each parent
- History of sexual, substance or emotional abuse in the household or current living environment
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s well-being financially and physically
California courts will not take into consideration which parent filed first, or give any preferential treatment based on sex . Both parents begin the custody process with equal rights and after a judge assesses the evidentiary factors both sides have presented he or she will make a decision that supports the well-being of the child. California law also requires courts to take the child’s preference into consideration when evaluating the custody roles of parents. The child must be mature enough to make intelligent decisions regarding custody. When determining child custody, courts favor making a decision based on maintaining a stable and reliable option that best suits the child’s needs and well-being for the long term. If you need help during this difficult time contact an experienced attorney who can help evaluate the best possible outcome for you and your child.