When families are separating, they need to work together to establish custody and parenting plans. Even in highly contentious cases, the court usually requires that parents first try to use mediation to deal with their custody disputes and try to reach an amicable resolution without litigation.
Mediation can benefit you and your children by providing an organized, controlled setting within which you and your co-parent can communicate. Here are some of the goals of mediation:
- Create a tailored parenting plan;
- Manage and resolve communication issues;
- Learn how to separate your emotions towards your spouse from your children;
- Understand the keys to successful long term co-parenting;
- Ensure you both feel comfortable with the amount of time scheduled with your children; and
- Practice and develop a personalized plan for your unique family dynamic.
When you’re going through a divorce and children are involved, it’s very important to understand the nuances of custodial rights in California. You’ll need to understand the differences between legal and physical custody, as well as the differences between sole legal custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody, and joint physical custody.
The focus in custody determinations is the best interest of the child or children. When making this determination, the court will consider specific factors before making an order for physical or legal custody. These factors include:
- The health, safety, and welfare of the child;
- Any history of abuse;
- The nature and amount of contact with both parents; and
- The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, the habitual or continual abuse of alcohol, or the habitual or continual abuse of prescribed controlled substances by either parent.