Children are the most important cog in the machine called marriage. To parents, their children are their greatest, most prized assets – one who they never want to leave. Yet when the parents do decide to go for an Orange County divorce, it means that the time and custody of the children needs to be divided. Child custody is governed by the California family laws and Family Code and most parents aren’t aware of what these are. It is often the case that due to the lack of knowledge of the appropriate laws and statutes, parents start unnecessary child custody cases. Here is an outline of some of the basic information of the Orange County family laws regarding child custody.
Rules Regarding Child Custody
A common misconception among parents is that they tend to think that the rights to custody of a minor child are different for each parent. In reality though, according to California law, the rights of the parents on custody of the minor are the same and the decision by the courts is often only made keeping the best interest of the child in mind.
According to the courts, the responsibility of the parent is safeguarding the child’s health, welfare, and safety by the parents. Usually, courts encourage parents to share the responsibilities of upbringing the child between themselves. The courts strongly believe in letting both the parents have contact with the child after the couple has gone through a divorce or separation.
The Standard of “Best Interest of the Child”
The legal term “best interest of the child” is a very broad one, but it is the main standard upon which California court make decisions concerning child custody.. The best interest of the child basically means ensuring a child’s safety, health, and welfare. The standards that work against the standard of best interest are child abuse and illegal use of drugs or criminal convictions. Let’s look at the health, safety, and welfare in a little detail as the courts use them.
Does the parent have previous history of abusing the child physically? Or is he known to have a reckless behavior?
How has each parent fared when the time comes to take care of the child with respect to health issues?
What is the contribution of each parent regarding the common welfare of the child? Has either parent ever proven a hindrance in the welfare of the child such as going against education, etc?
The Role of the Status Quo
Judges in the Orange County family law courts tend to be firm believers in the status quo. The status quo in law means that the past parenting exercises that have been going on are encouraged by the judges to continue unless it is proven to them that they are impractical or lead to an unfavorable situation for the child.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.