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What Does the Court Consider When Determining Custody?

When parents separate or divorce, they must decide how to proceed with the custody of their children. While preparing for this often contentious process, many parents are concerned and confused about how the court ultimately decides custody of children. In all cases involving children, California’s family courts make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. Below our Pasadena child custody lawyer explains how this is determined.

What Factors Affect Child Custody in California?

According to Family Code §§ 3011, 3020 & 3040, custody decisions should be ordered based on what is in the child’s best interests. Typically, preference will go to parents pursuing joint custody as the court sees the importance of a child having frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

However, depending on the circumstances, joint custody is not always conducive to a healthy and safe environment for the child. To determine what is in the child’s best interests the courts examine several factors.

Factors the court will look at when making custody decisions include:

  • The child’s health
  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child
  • If there is a history of family violence
  • Substance abuse by either parent
  • The child’s ties to their school, home, other relatives or siblings in the area, and their community
  • The child’s age

Per Family Code § 3042, California’s family law states that the court can consider the child’s custody preference if they are of sufficient age and have the capacity to form a logical reason for stating their decision. Typically, the child must be at least 14 years of age or older. However, children younger than this may be able to also state their preference if the court allows it. While they may hear the child’s wishes, if they find that it is not in the best interests of the child, the court does not have to uphold their wishes.

What Doesn’t Affect the Court’s Decision?

The court will not place a child in a custody situation that puts the child in harm. Therefore, when determining custody, the court will not consider a parent, legal guardian, or relative’s:

  • Sex
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression
  • Sexual Orientation

Our Pasadena Child Custody Lawyers are Here For You

When undergoing child custody matters, it is essential to protect your child’s best interests. Our California family law attorney is dedicated to helping families through this difficult process. At , we understand how important your children are. Our skilled team of family law professionals will do everything in our power to obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Call at (626) 653-4075 today to speak to our Pasadena child custody attorneys.

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