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Child Custody Issues to be Aware of

Child custody battles are frequent in California, especially in divorce cases. Every parent feels that the child would be better off with him or her than with the other parent. If both parents are cooperative, they may work out a child custody plan that is favorable to both of them. However, if the parents cannot agree on a child custody plan, they have to take the issue to court and let the judge decide. There are numerous issues surrounding custody that you should be aware of. When determining a custody case, the court will consider these issues before making a judgment. San Diego Divorce Attorney can help you understand several child custody issues you should be aware of.

All the issues surrounding child custody have one thing in common; they all focus on the best interests of the child. The court may probe both parents to find answers to various questions. The court will then use the answers to gauge the best interests of the child and give custody to the appropriate parent. Child custody issues include the following.

Providing for the Needs of the Child

When granting child custody, the court determines which parent is able to offer to the needs of the child best. Of the two parents seeking custody of the child, who has been putting the needs of the child first and fulfilling them? If you do not have a prior involvement providing for the needs of your child, you cannot prove that you will start meeting the needs of the child after custody. You may be financially stable but have little inclination towards the child. The court determines a wide range of factors, including the parent who is actively involved in meeting the basic needs of the child. For instance, which parent buys clothes for the child? Which parents take the child for his/her doctor's appointments, and who pays for the medical expenses?

The court may also consider who organizes and pays for the child's baby care. If the child has special needs, the court has to weigh and determine which parent is most suited to meet the unique needs of the child. Special requirements may include medical, speech, or educational needs. The parent who shows commitment to handling the special needs of the child is likely to win custody. A good parent should have good financial management skills. As the court determines the earning capacity of each child, it will also determine the ability of the parent to manage finances responsibly.

Emotional Connection with the Child

When solving a child custody battle, the court will seek to know the parent who has the most profound emotional connection with the child. A child is likely to feel more comfortable with the parent with which he/she shares an emotional connection. What is the proof of a deep emotional connection? Deep emotional connection is a subjective factor that may be hard to determine. However, indicators of a deep emotional connection may include a child's knowledge of a child's interests and likes. For instance, the court may ask you to outline your child's favorite television shows. The court may also ask you to name the favorite foods of your child. If you are clueless about the likes and the interest of a child, it may be an indicator that you are not close to the child at all. 

The court may ask one parent to describe his/her relationship with the child. The court may also seek to know what one parent thinks about the child's relationship with the other parent. If the child has suffered trauma due to the divorce, the court may seek to know how each parent intends to assist the child in overcoming the trauma. Which parent is most concerned when a child is facing challenges like bruising his/her knee? Which parent is most thrilled and celebrates with the child most when the child wins? If the child is big enough, the court may ask him/her about his parents’ love. For instance, the court may seek to know which parent loves the child most based on the judgment of the child. 

Offering Guidance and Daily Care to the Child

At times, both parents may have a deep emotional connection with a child. However, only one parent may actively provide daily care and guidance to a child. The court will consider which parent is actively involved in preparing the child's means and grooming the child. Whenever the child falls sick, which of the two parents sacrifices and stays home with the child? The flexibility of the parents in their places of work matters, including the parent who can easily apply for a day or several days off work. When fighting a child custody battle, the judge may tell you to describe a typical day with your child. On any given day, do you help your child with his/her homework? Do you put the child in bed in the evening?

The judge may ask you to describe various ways in which you show love to your child. If there is something that may affect your ability to give guidance, love, and attention to your child, you should disclose it in court. In determining your daily care for the child, the court may seek to know whether you take part in your child's extracurricular activities. Are you able to instill discipline to a child?

Child Relationship with Other People in Your Life

For proper growth, a child often needs the support and stability of the family unit and love. When you are seeking custody of a child, the court may consider the relationship of the child with other people in your life. What influences are the people in your life are likely to have in your child? The jury determines you and your spouse's moral fitness and the moral fitness of the people the child may encounter after court grants custody. The judge may seek to know if you have immediate prospects for marriage or if you are in a close relationship with a person who will be in the child's life. If you intend to remarry soon, you have to describe the child's relationship with the person you intend to marry.

When determining the best interest of the child, the jury may pose some personal questions. The jury may seek to know whether the child has faced any form of sexual abuse or any other form of abuse in the past. If the allegations of abuse were true, which actions did you take as parents to enhance the wellbeing of the child? If any of the parents have abused drugs or alcohol in the presence of the child, this disclosure is necessary for court. If you struggle with a form of addiction, including alcohol addiction, which treatment have you sought, and what is the outcome of the treatment? Your driving records, including cases of driving under the influence and reckless driving, will determine the outcome of the custody battle.

Living Conditions of the Child

When deciding a custody case, the court will determine which parent can offer the best living conditions for the child. Living conditions have a significant impact on a child's social and emotional development. The court may require you to describe the current living conditions of the child, including the home where the child currently lives. Where do you propose to take the child after winning the custody battle?  Will you be living in the same geographical location that the child is used to or in a different location? Will, the child, need to change schools, or will he/she be attending the same school?

The court is likely to recommend custody to the parent who is likely to offer the best living conditions for the child. The court does not just consider physical factors and financial stability while assessing the ability to provide good living conditions. The court also weighs the kind of love a parent is likely to offer a child. If your affection, guidance, spiritual and moral training, and your personal fulfillment opportunities are better than those of your spouse, you may win the custody battle. The court may also consider where close friends and family of the child are situated before granting custody to one party.

Health and Well Being of the Parents

If one of a child's parents has compromised physical or mental health, it may be hard to take care of a child. In a case where the health of one parent is failing, the court is likely to grant custody to the healthy parent who has the capability of taking good care of the child. The court may require you to describe your physical health and to disclose any form of treatment you may be undergoing. The court may also request for a statement of the mental health statement of the parents involved in the child custody battle. If one parent has either short term or long term mental health concerns, the court will consider this factor before granting custody.

Child's Involvement in School, Home, and in the Community

While seeking custody, the court mainly focuses on the wellbeing of the child. The court may make some inquiries to determine how your child is coping with the divorce and custody proceedings. In assessing how a child is coping, the jury may consider the behavior of a child, including how the child behaves while at home, while at school, and in the community at large. When assessing how a child is behaving in school, the judge may enquire about the school your child attends, the academic record of the child, school attendance record of the child, and the child's attitude towards school.

The court may also place emphasis on the extracurricular activities your child engages in. As a parent, do you involve yourself with extracurricular activities together with your child? For instance, do you attend your child's game and cheer him/her on? You may also have to outline the responsibilities of the child at home and how you get involved as a parent. What is the nature of the child's relationship with his peers? The court may also seek to know whether the child has a juvenile arrest record. When going through a hard time of divorce and child custody battles, children may become defiant in an attempt to cope with the situation. Once the court understands how your child is dealing with the divorce and custody process, it will be easy to make the right custody decision. 

What Does Your Child Prefer?

The court considers the preference of the child if the child is old enough to express his/her preference.  However, it is important to note that the preference of the child is not always a determining factor in child custody battles. It is common for parents to bribe their children and urge them to choose them as their preferred custodian.  There are many ways of bribing a child, including being lenient on disciplining the child and offering other favors.

The court may ask the child if he/she has a preference for which parent he should live with. If the child chooses one parent, it must be evident that the chosen custodian is able and willing to take up the custody role. It must also be evident that the chosen parent did not bribe or coerce the child to choose him/her as the custodian.

Are You Willing to Encourage the Child's Relationship with the Other Parent?

Even if you are not in good terms with your ex-spouse and you probably hate him/her, you should still remember that he/she is still a parent to your child. Your child will need the love and support of both parents. California courts encourage both parents to stay in contact with the child. If the court feels that you intend to keep the child away from the other parent after winning the custody battle, you may not win the case.

To assess how you see and feel about the other parent, the court may gather information on what you say about the other person. If it is evident that you talk ill of the other parent to the children, it may be an indication that if you win custody, you will turn the children against the other parent. How do you are the other parent talk or interact after the divorce? While granting custody, the court may seek to know whether you are willing to work out a child visitation schedule with the other parent.

Presence of Domestic Violence

Before granting custody, the court has to ensure that the child will be safe with the qualifying parent. The court will, therefore, determine whether there are instances of domestic violence. Domestic violence could greatly influence a judge's determination of custody and child visitation.

During the custody hearing, the judge will determine whether either parent has threatened the other either in the absence or presence of the children. The judge may also seek if there have been instances of physical violence where one parent strikes the other. When considering domestic violence, the court does not solely focus on violence between the spouses but also on violence against the child. The court will determine whether either parent has struck the child in an instance that does not involve normal disciplining. It is hard for the court to grant custody to a parent guilty of domestic violence.

What are the Intentions of the Parents?

It is common for the court to determine the real intentions of parents before granting child custody. For instance, the court may determine whether the child seeking primary custody is really interested in staying with the child or is merely using custody as revenge against the other party.  The court will also determine if any parent has filed a false report about the other parent in an effort to gain custody. By determining these factors, it will be easy for the court to decide about the parent to give primary custody. It will also be easy for the court to come up with the right visitation schedule.

There is an assumption that mothers are more likely to get custody than fathers. Most people feel that mothers are more nurturing than fathers. However, it is important to understand that fathers also have custody rights. As a father, you have a right to stand up and fight for the custody of your child or children.

The trend of partial custody is gaining popularity in the current times. This is an arrangement where the child spends a considerable amount of time with each parent. For instance, a child may spend several weeks with one parent and then spend time with the other. The arrangement of shared custody works best when parents live within the same geographical location. A child may spend an extended period like summer break or winter break with one parent and spend the remaining part of the year with the other parent.

Find a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer Near Me

There are countless issues that surround custody battles and failing to understand these issues may cost you the custody of your child. Working with a competent attorney will help you know which issues to avoid while seeking child custody. An attorney will also help you to come up with a strong custody case. If you need guidance on child custody, San Diego Divorce Attorney can assist. Contact us at 858-529-5150 and speak to one of our attorneys today. 

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