CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
California law states that both the mother and father of a minor child are equally entitled to the custody of the child. Child custody and visitation arrangements are determined by the court using the “best interests of the child” standard. Factors that the court considers in determining what the “best interests of the child” are include:
- The health, safety and welfare of the child
- Any history of abuse by either parent or any other person seeking custody
- The amount of contact the child has with both parents
- The relationship the child has with both parents
- Any alcohol or substance abuse of either parent
MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY
Child custody and visitation can be modified at any time so long as the child is a minor, as circumstances may change over time. Generally, the person seeking a modification of an order is required to show that there has been a significant change of circumstances that existed at the time of the last order.
When seeking a modification of child custody and visitation, the court is required to schedule a mediation. The mediation must be set before or at the same time of any hearing regarding custody and visitation. If the parties resolve the matter in mediation, the modification agreement is submitted to the court for approval. If mediation cannot resolve the issue of child custody, a hearing before the judge will be necessary.
If you are considering a modification of your current child custody and visitation order, contact Dunn & Sanderson for a free consultation to discuss your present needs.