The one issue in divorce cases which has the potential to make any case become extremely litigious and emotional is the issue of child custody. The breakup of a marriage is usually difficult enough. Try deciding who the children will live with and how often!!
Unfortunately, children often become pawns in a chess match when discussing child custody. For example, one spouse may be angry with the other spouse because of an affair. This spouse may attempt to extract revenge by not allowing the other spouse time with the children. There is a saying that in Criminal Law, you find bad people acting their best in court. In Family Law, you find good people acting their worst in court.
So what is the law regarding child custody? Who decides who will have the children? In California, family law cases are decided by a Judge or Commissioner. There are no jury trials in California Family Law Courts.
California law provides that it is in the public policy of the State to ensure minor children frequent and continuing contact with both parents after their separation or dissolution except when that contact would not be in the child’s best interest. California Family Code Section 3011 sets forth factors which indicate when it is not in the child’s best interest. If there is a question as to whether the issue of frequent and continuing contact conflicts with the health, safety and welfare of the child then the court will typically side with the child’s safety and fashion a visitation order to ensure the child is safe.
Parents often make the mistake of assuming that child custody is awarded according to what is in their best interest. This is not the case. Custody orders are often inconvenient for parents and that is because the orders are made according to what is in the child’s best interest.
If you have any questions about child custody issues please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, to discuss your case today. Attorney Keith Simpson is located in Manhattan Beach, California. Attorney Keith Simpson writes this California Divorce Blog and practices Family Law in Manhattan Beach, California.