Child Custody in Contested Divorce-How is it Determined?

Divorce is one of the most emotionally draining legal processes to have to work through. When the separating spouses are unable to come to an agreement on important matters, the process can become particularly difficult to work through. Child custody is one of the most sensitive topics to be addressed during divorce—especially when the marriage cannot be dissolved through collaboration or mediation.

When the judge is coming up with the terms of child custody, they will primarily focus on what is in the best interests of the child. When determining what is in the child's best interests, the judge will ask a number of questions including:

  • What environment will most suitably cater to the health, safety and welfare of the child?
  • Is there any history of child abuse by the parent or other party that is seeking custody?
  • Is the environment stable?
  • Will granting custody to this party allow for the conservation of sibling relationships?
  • Have any violent crimes occurred in the past that could deem the environment unstable for the mental, physical and emotional health of the child? (Examples of this may include: custody granted to a parent that is registered as a sex offender, or to a parent that has a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse.)
  • If the child is of the proper age and capacity to make an informed decision, what are their custodial preferences?

Since child custody is such a delicate family law matter, it is essential to ensure the attorney you are working with is one that is trusted and skilled in the field. At Cutter & Lax, our team of Encino divorce attorneys has more than 30 years of experience in family law. We recognize that our clients are going through trying times in their lives, and we do all we can to simplify their legal processes as much as possible. Contact our firm today to find out more about the services we may be able to provide you with!