In California, child custody law is said to be “in favor of the child’s best interests.” But what does this mean? Both parents start with equal rights when it comes to custody. Hypothetically, there is no favoritism toward the mother or the father. In fact, the courts are required to adhere to two principles that are cornerstones when it comes to custody: the welfare of the child and frequent contact with both parents. The judge is also to consider anything that may be relevant to parenting.
Factors to Consider
The first factor to consider is the health and safety of the child. Considering the child’s welfare often includes considerations such as the parents’ possible record of abuse, rape, murder, illegal drug use, and/or alcohol abuse. A child’s preference is also a factor to be considered in some cases. There is no set legal age for a child to make his or her preferences known. In these cases, the judge may determine that the child is mature enough to make this kind of decision.
Co-parenting skills are also considered when placing a child. A parent who is unwilling to co-parent or shows signs of being unwilling to communicate with the other parent is looked on unfavorably in the court. The stability of the parent is also considered to be very important. The judge wants to see that you think your child or children are a priority in your life.
When it comes to child custody you have several options including joint custody with the other parent, physical custody in which you physically control the child’s whereabouts and legal custody which gives you authority over important decisions. You have the option of creating a parenting plan, but if parents are not willing to agree the court will begin creating the plan with or without input from the parents.
Mothers Seem to be Favored
Even though many states are leaning toward equality in custody for the mother and father, mothers are still favored over fathers in receiving primary custody. On average women receive primary custody 68 to 88 percent of the time and fathers receive primary custody eight to 14 percent of the time.
An interesting study from Arizona State University also supports the idea that mothers are given preference in custody matters. Researchers created hypothetical scenarios in which the public would decide who would receive primary custody or the details of joint custody. The public continued to favor the mothers, even when the fathers showed more stability and care for the child.
The Men’s Legal Center Can Help You With Custody Issues
A custody battle can be challenging. Unfortunately, many men throw away their chances of receiving custody by misunderstanding the system. Do not fight for child custody alone. Fighting for custody can be emotionally and physically draining, but you can get help in fighting for the welfare of your child. Contact an attorney at the Men’s Legal Center for an initial consultation.