How Child Custody Is Determined in Orange County
A child’s custody always comes into question when both the parents have some disputes on how to raise the child or if they are not interested in the idea of living together anymore. Determining child custody in Orange County is a time consuming and complicated process. The custody order needs to meet some standards set by the courts in Orange County. While considering child custody, the court always focuses on the decision that is in the best interest of the child.
What does a judge consider during a child custody hearing?
In Orange County, the judge has the discretionary power to decide the child custody. Unlike in other court systems, the Orange County legal system does not favor the idea of joint custody. The judge makes the custody decision in the best interest of the child. He will consider the child’s education, mental, and physical health before taking any decision. The judge considers the following factors to give a fair judgment:
- The criminal background of the parents.
- The child’s preference.
- Any prior abuse by the parents.
- Drug addiction in either of the parents.
- Relationship of the child with the parents.
- The living conditions of both the parents.
- Age of the child.
- Emotional ties of the child with the parents.
After considering all the factors, the court decides the custody of the child.
Types of the Child Custody in Orange County
There are two types of the custody in Orange County, legal custody, and the physical custody. The legal custody is the one that decides how the child will be raised. This custody includes many things such as how the child will go to school, who will be the doctor, and what type of the life the child will lead. The physical custody is where the court will decide where the child will live and who will supervise the child on a daily basis.
The court can give both the physical and legal custody to one parent and to both of them. It can also decide the joint custody. Joint custody does not mean that the child will spend an equal time with both of their parents. Instead, the child will keep continued and frequent contact with both of them.
What will be the legal procedure?
In the first attempt, the parents will be encouraged to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan is a written custody plan that mentions every decision about the child, such as when a child will spend time with the parents and who will make decisions about the child’s health, education, and other important things in their life. The guidelines of the parenting plan can help the parents in cooperating on decisions for their child.
If the parents are unable to make an agreement on their own, they must seek the help of some form of mediation before the starting of the hearing. Mediation is a confidential and free service where both the parents will meet a neutral professional to discuss the custody related issues. The mediator will help the parents to create the parenting plan for the welfare of the child. If the parents do not reach a consensus, the judge will decide the custody at the hearing.