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What will a California court look at when deciding custody?

Many Riverside moms and dads either already have or one day will find themselves in a situation in which a court has to decide important questions regarding the custody of their child.

For example, a court may have to decide with which parent the child will spend the majority of the time and, on the flip side, when and under what terms the other parent will be able to have time with the child. The court may also have to decide which will parent will make what decisions in the child's' life, including decisions involving important or even critical maters like healthcare and religion.

These sorts of questions come up just about anytime parents are living in separate homes while trying to raise their child together, and it is not surprising that parents will not in all cases be able to resolve their differences and come to an agreement.

When parents cannot agree, a court will make these decisions based on what the court sees as in the "best interests" of the child. Basically, the phrase "best interests" means that a court is going to make a decision that puts the child's needs and well-being first, before the interests of either one of the child's parents.

When making this decision, the court is expected to consider a number of factors. Some of these factors pertain to the child herself, while others focus more on the strength and durability of the child's relationship with his parents as well as his other relatives, friends and broader community.

Courts have a great deal of leeway in applying these factors to the circumstances of a particular case. As such, it often is best for a parent who might have to go to court with a custody issue to get the help of a family law attorney who has experience both with California custody cases and a working knowledge of how the courts in and around Riverside tend to operate.

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