One of the more complicated elements in a divorce is child custody. As pointed out on the website of the Marshall Taylor Law Firm, both parents would generally want to sustain a meaningful relationship with their children, an endeavor to be given custody of them after a divorce. Obviously, it would not be physically possible to have two parents have their children all the time so a compromise is often reached where one parent has physical custody (to whom depends on the circumstances) and the other parent has prescribed visitation rights.

The judge is the final authority on who gets what in child custody cases, and in general this is decided on what the statutes say and past experience has determined to be most beneficial for the children. In North Carolina, for instance, the statute (N.C.G.S.A. § 50-13.2(a)) emphasizes the “will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” The statute does not specify all the factors that may impugn on the ruling, but it does provide some guidance when it comes to issues involving domestic violence, the ability of the parent to provide a child with a stable home environment, and the child’s extant living arrangements. The law does not favor one gender over another for child custody.

Because of the way the statute is worded, it provides a lot of leeway for the judge to decide just what that would entail. This can both be a good thing and a bad thing when one considers that judges are humans and apt to be influenced by their own personal life experiences and preferences. For example, there is an interesting Harvard University study that suggests judges who have daughters are more likely to award physical custody of children to the female parent.

When considering divorce, you need to make sure that your child’s best interests are safeguarded despite any biases that the judge may entertain. An experienced and persuasive divorce lawyer would be an invaluable ally in this endeavor.


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Child custody is always a sensitive issue in a divorce. Often, the judge will award physical custody to one parent and visitation rights to the other based on circumstances that will serve the best interest of the child. In general, however, divorce law provides ample opportunity for the child to have significant contact with both parents as much as possible to foster a healthier parent-child relationship.

However, California courts typically allow the parent who has sole custody of child to relocate outside the state unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move will cause considerable harm to the child. Exactly what constitutes harm to a child will depend on the circumstances, but the non-custodial parent has the burden of proof.

But if the parents have joint custody of the child, the burden of proof shifts to the parent who plans to move away if the staying parent objects to the move. The parent who is relocating must show that it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

The judge will determine the wisdom of allowing the custodial arrangement to be modified to accommodate relocation based on the actual time spent by the child with the staying parent rather than the parenting plan made at the time of the divorce. Each case is unique and requires careful study and consideration before the judge can make ruling.

Each state has its own take on how to handle move-away issues. A Manhattan Beach divorce lawyer can prepare and present a case for or against relocation in California that can significantly influence the final decision of the judge. It is essential that the lawyer who handles such a case is experienced in dealing with move-away custody issues in California to obtain the desired results, always in the best interests of the child.


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