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Best Interests of the Child in Determining Custody

In California, either parent can have custody of the children, or the parents can share custody. While the judge makes the final decision about custody and visitation, he or she will usually approve the parenting plan that both parents agree on.

If the parents are not able to reach an agreement, the judge will make a decision at a court hearing. Most of the time, a judge will not make a decision about custody and visitation until after the parents have met with a mediator from Family Court Services.

The Best Interests of the Child

When parents are negotiating a parenting plan, the "best interests of the child" is what should be given consideration. In California and in other states, judges strive to consider the best interests of the child when determining child custody and visitation, and parents are encouraged to do the same.

The following factors need to be considered when determining the best interests of the child:

  • The child's age.
  • The relationship the child has with each parent, and anyone else that may impact the child's happiness and wellbeing.
  • The child's current living arrangements, and the desirability of continuing the arrangement.
  • The stability of any proposed living arrangements.
  • Each parent's motivations, and their capacity to give the child proper love, affection, and parental guidance.
  • The child's adjustment to their current living situation, their school, and community.
  • Each parent's ability to encourage frequent and ongoing contact with the other parent.
  • The parents' capacity to cooperate in childcare.
  • History of substance abuse or domestic violence.
  • Criminal history.
  • The effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over raising the child.
  • Any other factors that are deemed relevant.

Contact a Woodland Hills Child Custody Attorney

To get more specifics on child custody, including how the courts address legal custody and physical custody, contact a Woodland Hills divorce lawyer from Taub & Taub, P.C. We can explain parenting plans and mediation, and answer any questions that you may have.

With more than 40 years of collective experience, we are well-prepared to assist you. Contact us today at (818) 839-2415, we look forward to hearing from you.