If you are involved in a conflict over child custody in California, you should understand the state’s custody laws and how these can affect the way your case turns out. Custody laws apply whether the parents were married or not and parents should be familiar with these laws as they resolve their custody issues.
Factors that affect custody cases
When a child custody case is being decided, there are certain factors that will be considered before a custody order is issued. Some of these factors include:
• The age and health of the child and their wishes
• The bond between the child and each parent
• Each parent’s ability to care for and meet the child’s needs
• The child’s connection to their community, school and home
• Any history of abuse or violence in the family
• Each parent’s commitment to co-parenting
• The need for an advocate or lawyer for the child to be appointed
Custody and child support
Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. This often results in the non-custodial parent being ordered to pay child support. In some cases, that parent might become delinquent in their payments and the custodial parent might consider withholding visitation between that parent and the child. However, the court will always treat custody and support as two separate issues, which means that even a parent who is not meeting their financial responsibilities still has the right to continue seeing their child. Withholding visitation can also make the custodial parent look bad in court.
Custody orders, which usually include parenting schedules and plans, are designed to protect the child’s best interests and to ensure stability in their life. However, as the child grows and each parent’s situation changes, there might be a need for modifications. While parents cannot simply change the custody order, they should be willing to work together to adapt their custody agreement when changes are needed.