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Answering Common Questions about Child Custody

Last updated 4 years ago

In deciding child custody issues, the courts prioritize the best interests of the child. As a result, many factors can influence child custody cases, including the child’s age and physical health, each parent’s lifestyle, and the child’s established living pattern. Even though courts use similar standards in child custody cases, there are still many uncertainties and questions that arise during the child custody process.

Are courts more likely to grant mothers custody?
Even though states used to award custody to the mothers when children were under the age of five, no state requires custody always be awarded to the mother. Instead, most courts make child custody decisions by considering what is in the child’s best interest, regardless of the parent’s gender. If both the mother and father work full-time and the children attend after-school care, the parents may be on equal footing.

Is only one parent granted custody?
In many cases, courts award at least partial custody to each parent. If a judge grants joint physical custody, then the child will spend substantial time with each of his or her parents. The judge may also grant joint legal custody, which means that the parents will have equal say when it comes to medical, educational, and religious decisions. It’s possible for parents to have both joint physical and joint legal custody.

Who determines fair visitation?
A court may choose to award physical custody to one parent, while granting reasonable visitation to the other. In this case, the primary custodial parent is able to decide what constitutes reasonable visitation. While this arrangement can result in little visitation for the noncustodial parent, it can be a good option for parents who cooperate and allow their kids to spend significant time with each parent.

Child custody laws vary by state, so it’s important to speak with a San Jose family lawyer about your case. For more than 20 years, Moreno Family Law has been helping clients with family law issues, including divorce and child custody. Call (408) 266-9011 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced San Jose divorce lawyers.


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