In California, a child cannot decide where they will live in a divorce process. This decision is left to the parents, and if the parents cannot decide, then the courts will intervene and decide based on the ‘best interest’ of the child. Depending upon the age and maturity of the child, the court may take the child’s wishes into consideration. The court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the best interests of the child during this process.
Oftentimes, in a happy family, children want to live with both parents, which is no longer an option. Younger children will tell both parents in private that they want to live with them, because that is true, and they don’t want to hurt their feelings. Older teens can pit one parent against the other, saying if you give me___ (phone, car, pet etc.), then I will say I want to live with you. These reoccurring scenarios are frustrating for both parents, and oftentimes counterproductive, as custody is the decision of the parents, not the child. Parents in this situation must not give children that kind of authority, or the parents will lose all authority.
Unmarried couples seeking child custody agreements face unique challenges that require the experience of a San Diego County family law attorney. California courts seek to provide ‘continuing and frequent’ contact between parent and child. If you are a biological father or mother, who acknowledges their responsibility and wants quality time with your child, do not allow the other parent to prevent your precious time with your child.
When both parents cannot agree on legal and physical custody, a judge will make those decisions for you with the assistance of a mediator or evaluator. When parents cannot agree on custody it costs you more in court fees, attorney fees and it also removes the control over your child’s wellbeing from your hands, and places it in the hands of someone you do not know — the judge.
In custodial situations, it is not to be forgotten that grandparents have rights too. Grandparents have rights to child visitation to ensure that family relationships that benefit a child continue even in the event of the parents’ divorce. Agape Law Firm helps clients take decisive action and assert their rights as grandparents.
In any situation involving custody of your child, legal help is vital. It is very important for your case to have a carefully negotiated parenting plan. Your custody and visitation agreement must be carefully drafted. It is important that you have sound legal assistance throughout this process in order to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. Child custody disputes tend to be emotionally taxing and affect not only the parents, but the children involved as well.