This blog recently considered the different types of child custody arrangements that may be available to parents and their children in California. It can also be helpful to take a look at, and understand, how child custody is determined in California.

Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. What is in the best interests of the child will be different in every situation so the family law court will examine a variety of factors to help them determine what child custody arrangement would be in the best interests of the child. Using that standard, the family law court will determine legal and physical custody of the child. Parents are also encouraged to work together to develop a child custody arrangement using the same best interests of the child standard.

The best interests of the child standard maintains a focus on the child’s safety and overall well-being. Factors that may be considered include the age of the child; the health of the child; the emotional ties between the child and its parents; the ability of each of the parents to care for the child; the child’s ties to home, school and community; and any history of violence or substance abuse. By evaluating these factors, the court will seek to develop a child custody arrangement that is best for the child.

The child custody process can be understandably emotional for many parents which is why it can be helpful to understand how child custody is determined and what the family law court takes a look at when determining what is best for the child. It is the same guidance parents should use when negotiating child custody and can help them be better prepared for what to expect from the process.