WHERE YOU LIVE: WILL IT INFLUENCE CHILD CUSTODY RULINGS?
Like most good parents in California, you always have your children’s best interests in mind. However, when you divorce, the court may get involved if you and your co-parent disagree about where your children should live. The judge overseeing your case will make a decision based on what is in the kids’ best interests.
It is important to understand what factors the court may consider with regard to child custody decisions, including those factors that pertain to living accommodations. If you expect your finances to change once you no longer reside with your current spouse, it may be necessary to simplify your living arrangements. You definitely wouldn’t be the first parent to face such circumstances. If you think your co-parent is trying to use that against you to gain custody, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney, preferably one who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS).
Issues of importance regarding living accommodations
While the court bases its decisions on various factors, a central focus is always the children’s best interests. The following list includes issues that may influence the court’s decisions, one or more of which may cause an obstacle for you, especially if you are moving to a home and neighborhood that is drastically different from where your children are used to living:
- If you have several children in multiple age ranges, the court may want to ensure that each has his or her own space in your home.
- If your children are the opposite gender from you, the court may ask you to provide evidence that they have private sleeping and dressing quarters.
- The surrounding neighborhood where you plan to live with your kids may also influence the court’s decision regarding whether your children should live with you or their other parent.
- Crime rate in your neighborhood may be a critical factor.
- If the other parent is able to provide living accommodations that are more in-line with what your kids were used to during your marriage, the judge may be inclined to rule that the children should live with the other parent most of the time.
A judge will typically consider how easily (or not) your children will be able to adjust to their new living arrangements. You know what’s best for your kids, and most judges will want to hear what you have to say, taking parents’ opinions and all external factors into consideration.
If the other parent tries to lower your chances
California and all other states operate under unique guidelines that judges use to help them make child custody decisions. If you believe your ex is trying to undermine your rights as a parent, seek the legal resources you need to protect your rights and your children’s best interests.