When determining child custody, the court aims to make the best decision for the child’s welfare. It weighs several factors, including the child’s best interests, the wishes of both parents, the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s educational needs, and the mental health of all parties.
Whether a grandparent should be granted custody or visitation depends on the circumstances. If the other parent does not spend enough time with the child, or if they are not actively involved in the child’s life, then the grandparent may be the best option. This option is known as “grandparent custody.” In California, the law governing this type of custody award is called 23 Pa.C.S. SS 5324. However, not everyone can obtain this legal standing.
The court can deny visitation rights if either parent is deemed to be dangerous to the child. For example, parents with substance abuse problems can be denied visitation. If the court believes that the noncustodial parent has been abusive to the child in the past or has a mental illness, the court will deny the parent visitation rights. However, a parent with a criminal history or a prison record will not be automatically denied visitation.
The court will also consider a non-biological parent if the biological parent is deemed unfit to care for the child. Oftentimes, this stepparent is a grandparent or a close relative. Because of these circumstances, the non-biological parent will be considered if living with them would be beneficial to the child.
In San Diego, a father and live-in girlfriend sought custody of a child with a diabetic condition. The woman claimed that she was the primary caregiver for the child during the couple’s relationship, and was responsible for taking care of the child during the relationship. When the couple broke up, the woman asked for custody. The trial court found that the girlfriend did not have the standing to claim custody. The California Court of Appeals took issue with this decision.
The other option is to seek joint custody. Joint custody allows both parents to make important decisions for the child. Joint custody is more common, but it’s not required. Oftentimes, parents will reach a compromise and agree on a custody arrangement that will work for the children. If the child lives with one parent more than the other, the non-custodial parent will be awarded visitation rights. The child’s health and safety are paramount in determining custody.
In California, the mother has the right to ask for custody of the child. If the father is legally the legal father, he will have to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity and receive an Order of Filiation from the court. He must also be listed on the child’s birth certificate. If neither parent can prove that the father is the biological parent, the birth mother’s spouse is presumed to be the child’s parent.
In some cases, courts will grant joint managing conservatorship, which allows both parents to make lifestyle and educational decisions for the child. This gives both parents the right to be active participants in after-school activities and religious upbringing. However, joint managing conservatorships may result in a custody arrangement that allows a child to live with one parent and share possession rights with the other. A skilled child custody attorney can help clients choose the best custody arrangement for their unique situation.
While most parents want the best for their children, it is easy to make mistakes that will make things more difficult for their children. Especially when they’re trying to get full custody, parents can make mistakes that can make the situation worse. If their ex-spouse has harmed them in the past, they may be tempted to do or say anything to make revenge.
Religious conflicts can also arise between parents of different religions. In such cases, the best interest of the child may be overridden by the parents’ religious beliefs. Generally, the best interest of the child is taken into account, but this can conflict with the parent’s constitutional rights to raise their children. Thankfully, the First Amendment protects the right of parents to practice their religion, which allows them to raise their children in the faith of their choice.