One of the most famous lines you would hear in every family court during a child custody proceeding is “in the child’s best interest”. But the interpretation of this statement highly depends on the judges of the family court therefore rendering its meaning obscure and relative.
But a child custody case is a very important proceeding that can be very stressful for both the parents and especially the child or children. All the overseas moving involved and custody matters. It is vital that the decision made in a child custody proceeding will truly benefit the child, for it will greatly affect the child’s development. It is also important for the parents to be able to put aside their emotional disputes and really focus on their child’s needs during a child custody proceeding.
The laws surrounding child custody is different from each state. There is no set legal position in what defines the “best interest of the child”. Other states have preferences in joint custody, but others follow a case to case basis. These states try to amend their laws to follow their preferences while others still rely on the parents’ agreement.
Like in most states, California defines the “best interest of the child” as one that assures the child’s “health, safety and welfare” as well as a “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents of the child.
But in California, they do not have a set preference for or against joint custody or any variation thereof. It is mostly up to the family court and the judge to decide upon this parenting plan. California also adopted a joint custody presumption back in 1979, but in 1994, they amended this law to be able to allow joint custody only if the parents consent for this to happen.
No matter what position a state takes regarding child custody, in general there is more favor towards joint custody. There are more bills coming out to support this belief that a “child’s best interest” is one that lets the child have continuous contact with both parents, unless certain circumstances dictate otherwise.
If you are currently in the process of a child custody dispute, it is better for you to acquire the services of a family law attorney for you to be able to fully understand how the laws apply to your situation. You would also want to know the aspects that influence the family court’s decision in granting child custody so that you will know what rights and responsibilities are entailed in this proceeding.