Whether you are separating from a spouse or have a paternity action, the children often get caught in the middle. It can be difficult for parents to think about not spending all their time with their child, but the fact remains that if parents are no longer together, this is impossible. Children deserve to spend time with each of their parents, and child custody orders are designed to ensure that happens on a safe level for everyone involved. Our team will help guide you through the process and ensure you are asking for an arrangement that is in the best interest of the children, to make certain they can enjoy quality time with both of their parents (when it is safe to do so).
What Is Considered in Determining Child Custody?
In establishing child custody, there are several things the judge will look at to make the appropriate recommendation. In order to ensure you get a custody arrangement you are comfortable with, we recommend working with us to mediate an agreement between you and the other parent. This is the best way to maintain some control and give your children the time they need with both parents. However, if you can’t come to an agreement, we will help you create a request that is more likely to be looked at favorably by the judge in your case.
When left up to the judge to decide, there are a number of factors that will come into play, including:
- Current amount of time spent with each parent
- The quality of the parent-child relationship
- The age and overall health of the child
- Safety and welfare concerns, such as alcoholism, domestic violence, substance abuse, criminal convictions, etc.
- The wishes of the child if the child is over the age of 12
Before heading to court, it is important not to discuss custody arrangements with the children. If the judge decides to talk to a child, it’s critical the child is able to articulate their feelings without the influence of what a parent may have said. The end goal is to ensure every child gets the chance to have a happy, healthy relationship with both parents.
Judges usually like to look ahead as far as possible when making custody arrangements, but sometimes there are situations that may arise that require adjustments to be made. While it’s acceptable for parents to deviate from the schedule when agreed upon, if the changes will be long term, it’s best to go to court for a modification, especially if you can’t agree. Changing the order legally will protect both parties in case the other individual decides the arrangement no longer works. However, it’s important to make sure you are seeking a modification for the right reasons, which is why you need to talk to experienced Carlsbad and Ramona child custody attorneys beforehand.
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