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Child Custody FAQs

child custody faqs

The world of child custody can be very daunting and actually very mind boggling for most parents. Add to that the stress and depression of not having your children with you or going through a divorce and we are talking meltdown for a lot of people. If you are in a custody battle for your children, having truthful answers to your child custody questions is a critical first step to your success.

At the Law Office of Edwin Fahlen, we can provide answers to some of the most common child custody questions from parents like you. Contact attorney Edwin Fahlen for personalized service and dedicated advocacy.

Research Your Child Custody Options

A common mistake parents make is rushing out, hiring the first lawyer they find, and relying on that person's expertise completely to win their custody battle. Unfortunately, even attorneys don't have all the answers to child custody questions or they are not up to date with the most current strategies. That is why your first step to winning custody of your children should be research. With the age of the Internet, research is a whole lot easier than it was in the past.

Some of the Most Common Child Custody Questions:

1. What are the different types of child custody?

Joint legal custody — Both parents are entitled to make major decisions about their children's lives (health, education, etc.). Sole legal custody — One parent alone has complete legal authority to make major decisions for their children. Sole physical custody — Is when the child lives with one parent on a regular basis with the other parent having visitation rights. Joint physical custody — Is when the child lives with each parent for a substantial part of the year (not necessarily 50/50).

2. What standards do the courts take into account when determining custody?

The overwhelming principle is the "best interest of the child."

3. How does the court decide the "best interest of the child?"

Depending on your child's age, the primary factors of determining the best interest of the child are:

- The child's interactions and quality of relationship with his or her parents
- Which parent is most likely NOT to interfere with the other parent's custodial time
- The child's involvement in his or her school and neighborhood and whether placement with either parent would be disruptive
- The health (mental and physical) of the parents
- The parent that is more likely to encourage and facilitate custody visitation rights of the other parent (This is a big one.)
- The residence location of either parent in relation to the child's existing city or state and/or if one parent is planning to move too far away
- Whether or not either parent has made the process of making child support payments difficult
- The wishes of the child (depending on age), but this will not hold a lot of weight unless the child is older, usually but not necessarily 14 years of age

4. Do children get to choose which household to live in?

Basically, no. Judges will definitely consider their wishes depending on age but will not base custody solely on a child's preference.

5. Can my child be used as a witness in court?

Yes, he or she can. California will give some consideration to the child's wishes. The court will consider such things as the maturity level of the child, whether the child has been coached (do not think for a moment the Judge will not know if you do coach your child). Listen carefully here... If you want to lose primary custody, just try to coach your child and attempt to deceive the court!

6. Is the mother more likely to get custody?

Yes, even in today's society. There are many exceptions though and fathers are gaining more custody rights as time goes on. The reason mothers have been most likely to obtain primary physical custody, is the fact that the mother has historically been the primary caretaker. When both parents have truly shared in the upbringing of the child(ren) the "playing field" is level and it is always a hard task for the judge to rule. This is where my experience come in to help you achieve your goal.

7. If joint physical custody is awarded, does that mean no one pays child support?

Absolutely not. Child support is determined separately from custody arrangements and is based on levels of income, and other factors.

8. If my spouse is behind on child support can I restrict visitations?

Definitely not. Visitation rights and child support are treated separately. You still must honor the visitation agreement and then pursue child support separately. However, experience dictates that when child support is kept current, and the NON-primary custodial parent is seeking to expand visitation, that parent is far more likely to obtain the favor of the court.

9. Can I stop paying child support if my spouse won't let me see my kids?

No. You must still pay child support and pursue a contempt violation of the custody agreement separately.

10. What is the purpose of a custody evaluation?

The primary function of a custody evaluation is to assist the court in determining what arrangements will meet the best interests of the child. They consider family and individual factors that may affect the physical and psychological interests of the child.

11. What if my ex has sole physical custody and wants to move out of state with the kids?

A custodial parent must petition the court to change the custody order and ask for permission to leave the state with the child. In today's modern society this is becoming much more prevalent. These are the most zealously fought battles in family court, and legal counsel is mandatory if you want to have a realistic chance to oppose this type of request.

Be Prepared and Organized

One of the keys to winning custody of your children is being prepared and organized. Don't leave everything up to your attorney. By doing your own research and being a partner with your attorney, you can significantly increase your chances of winning custody of your children.

If you need answers to your child custody questions to win custody of your kids, then please check out my website at Get prepared and arm yourself with proven strategies that will significantly increase your chances of winning custody of the most important people on this earth: your children. Write this motto down, "If you persist, you will succeed."