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How the best interests of your child are determined in a divorce

Getting divorced comes with numerous stresses and difficulties, including child custody. If you are concerned about what is best for your child, you are not alone. California courts make custody and visitation decisions based on the best interests of your child.

The health and wellbeing of your child is the primary concern, but there are more factors as well. Below is an overview of what judges consider in a California divorce case.

Health and safety

Just as you would hope, California courts want your child to be in a positive environment. For example, custody and unsupervised visitation are generally not granted to a parent who is guilty of certain violent or sexual crimes. Courts factor in habitual alcohol abuse and illegal drug use as well. The courts also consider any reports from child protective agencies about abuse or misconduct that may have not ended up in a conviction.

Preference of your child

If your child is older and mature, he or she has a say in the custody order. Unlike some other states, California law does not specify an exact age, but for example, courts are likely to grant a child who is 14 years old more influence than a child who is 7 years old.

Stability and continuity

California judges want your child to have as much stability as possible. Protecting emotional connections with the primary caretaker and maintaining patterns of care are primary priorities. If you are a stay-at-home mom, the court will heavily consider keeping your child in a familiar environment. Judges also generally seek to keep siblings together.

Understandably, you might worry about the future of your child. Now that you know the California courts consider the interests of your child, hopefully this relieves some of your fears. If you need someone to fight for your child, contact a divorce attorney in Roseville, CA.

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