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Facts determine child custody in California

In a California child custody case, all of the facts are considered before a final decision is made by a judge. This means that parents who have a history of domestic violence or substance abuse may not be automatically barred from seeing their children. While there may be restrictions placed where visitation occurs or how parents split custody, courts place a high value on children having relationships with both parents.

Therefore, a parent may be allowed to visit his or her children or have custody rights even if the other parent objects. In any case involving a child, the interests of the children will always be placed ahead of the interests of the parents. For instance, if a spouse has been violent with the other spouse but not with the child, a court may allow visitation and custody rights.

However, a judge may alter or adjust an original order if circumstances change in the future. Many courts will award joint physical and legal custody assuming that the parents are both deemed to be fit. This may be true even if one parent is unable to pay child support or otherwise financially support the child in a suitable manner. In such a scenario, keeping a child away from a parent could punish the child as much as it punishes the delinquent parent.

A parent who is seeking custody or visitation rights may wish to talk to a family law attorney. Legal counsel will often see if there is a possibility of negotiating an agreement with the other parent that covers this issue. When that is not likely, the attorney can provide representation during a court hearing on the matter.

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