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How is Child Custody Decided?

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Child Custody & Visitation

During child custody disputes, the court reviews a seemingly endless number of factors. This is because Family Code section 3020 specifically states that the legislature finds it is public policy to ensure the “health, safety, and welfare” of the child is the court’s primary concern. So, what exactly does the court look at when determining custody?

Family Code Factors

The Family Code lists an order of preference as follows:

  • Parents of the child;
  • If neither parent, then to someone the child has been living with in a stable environment;
  • If to none of the above, then to any suitable person who can give guidance and care to the child.

In other words, the parents of the child will always be preferential to third parties, unless it is not within the child’s best interest. The child’s best interest includes the child’s need for continuity, stability, and preservation of previously established care and emotional bonds.

The Code also ensures that certain factors will not be considered when awarding custody. These are:

  • Immigration status, and
  • Sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Best Interest Of The Child Applied

If there is no agreement already in place between the parties, then the court makes use of mediation in order to work on an agreement and parenting plan. The court views making orders about child custody for the family as a sort of last resort. In other words, coming to an agreement is preferred. But over all, the child’s best interest is the priority.

Why You Should Hire A Lawyer

Child custody disputes can get complicated and if you aren’t prepared for your hearing, you could receive a disagreeable result. To ensure you are well represented and prepared, contact the experienced attorneys at Butler Law, PC today.