California child custody cases are the subject of myths and untrue statements. These myths and false facts are so widespread that they have started to become more of a fact in the minds of the people as opposed to the myths that they actually are. As a result, parents make errors in parenting and other decisions related to the child, trying to keep in line with these myths.
Here, we will try and dispel these rumors once and for all.
Myth 1: Gender is an important consideration for the family law judge
The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing in the family law courts. Gender is irrelevant in the child custody decision making of a family law judge. This myth was actually made to act as an excuse for those parents, more specifically, fathers who, along with their attorneys, were unable to present their case properly and win. The fact that some parents are unable to prove the facts and make a real case out of the trial lose is due to the lack of preparation as opposed to the difference in gender.
Myth 2: Once a child reaches the teenage years, the decision which parents he/she wants to live with is taken by them
This is not entirely a myth, but isn’t completely true either. In child custody cases, most of which are complex in nature, the child does have a role in deciding which parent to live with, but the decision does not solely lie with them. When a child is judged to be mature enough to know the ins and outs of decision, he or she will be asked by the court about their preference regarding which parent they want to live with. This preference though, is only a means to aid the judge in their decision regarding child custody and is in no way binding. The judges can refuse to acknowledge or even take it into account if they believe it is against the interest of the child themselves.
Myth 3: As long as there is no court order, the parent that has custody of the child before the trial will continue custody during the trial
In reality, while the status quo, i.e. what has been happening before the trial, is an important consideration when it comes to deciding on temporary custody, it is by no means the final word. Courts will look at the facts objectively to decide which parent gets the temporary custody for as long as the trial goes on. The most important consideration in child custody cases is the best interests of the child.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer 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.