In any divorce case that involves children, custody issues are some of the most contentious. Feeling uncertain and filled with worry at this time is natural, as you are likely very concerned about the outcome of your custody case. Knowing what a judge will consider during child custody hearings can help you better understand the outcome you could expect. In Santa Clara County, as throughout the rest of California, judges will only consider what is in the best interests of the child when making child custody decisions. Below, our Santa Clara County child custody lawyer outlines the factors considered.
The Health and Safety of the Child
The most important factor a judge will consider in custody disputes is the health and safety of the child. If there is any history of child abuse convictions that would place the health and safety of the child in jeopardy, judges must orders putting appropriate safety measures in place. Generally, in this situation any parenting time awarded will be supervised.
Family law judges may also limit visitation for any parent accused of abuse, even if they have not been convicted. For this to occur, the parent accusing the other of abuse must present strong evidence such as eyewitness testimony, to prove their allegations.
Continuity and Stability in the Child’s Life
Family law judges understand that divorce is incredibly hard for the children involved, and they want to minimize the impact of it as much as possible. A judge will consider whether there are multiple children who are siblings, and will likely try to keep them together. A judge will also consider the stability of the child’s school, home, and community and when it is in the child’s best interest, try to keep them in that environment.
Risk of Parental Alienation
It is generally presumed that it is in the best interests of the child to maintain a good relationship with each parent once the divorce is final. The family courts also recognize the possibility of one parent trying to alienate their child from the other. Parental alienation can take many forms, including speaking badly about the other parent in front of the child, or being dishonest about things the other parent is doing or saying. Parental alienation is extremely damaging to children. If a judge suspects it may occur, they may limit the amount of access to the child for the alienating parent.
We can provide support concerning your custody dispute.
The above factors are just a few a judge will take into consideration, but there are many others, as well. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Santa Clara County child custody lawyer can advise on what those are, how they apply to your case, and give you the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome in your case. Call us now at 408-688-9153 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.