In the past, people in Monterey often held the thought that a woman always wins custody of the children in a custody battle. The public once believed that even though children need their fathers to play active roles in their lives, that it was more important that they have their mothers in their everyday lives. Those thoughts have since changed. Even though it is still a fact that children need both their mothers and fathers to play active roles in their lives, custody agreements often side with fathers. Monterey courts now do a better job to take the best interest of the children into consideration and a lot of times the father is deemed the better parent.
Who Decides Custody?
When a married couple files for a divorce, one of the most common points of complication is child custody. When a situation is already ugly, which divorce can be an ugly situation, it may be hard for the parties to agree to anything. When a couple cannot agree to a fair custody and visitation arrangement between one another, the Monterey County courts will decide a fair custody and visitation arrangement that both parents must abide by. It is important to have legal representation to help eliminate some of the tension and stress associated with these types of proceedings, and so that the best chance at being granted custody is achieved.
Deciding the Best Interest of the Child
California courts take many precautions to help them establish that the best interests of the child/children are met during custody hearings. Some of the factors taken into consideration include:
- health of the child/children
- welfare/safety of the child/children
- history of child abuse/domestic abuse by either parent
- history of drug abuse by either parent
- amount of time currently spent with either parent
Additionally, California courts will often take into consideration the wishes of the child/children, especially if the child/children is over the age of 14. A lawyer who specializes in family law will help ensure that the court hears all evidence to help gain custody of the child/children.
Unwed Mothers vs. Married Mothers
In the eyes of Monterey County courts, an unwed mother is granted sole custody of her child/children at the moment of birth. There is no need for a woman to file for legal custody of a child that is born to her out of wedlock. She, in turn, is responsible for obligations to the child such as:
- living expenses
- medical care
She is also solely responsible for making decisions for the child/children, such as when and how much time they may spend with their father.
Child Support Determination
The financial responsibility of raising a child/children lies with both biological parents. One of the reasons it is important to have an attorney is because the primary custodial parent is entitled to receive financial child support from the noncustodial parent in the amount that the court determines. Some of the factors considered in determining the amount of child support ordered include:
- the amount of income earned by each parent
- the amount of time the child/children spends with each parent
- the type of custody awarded to each parent
Parents with sole or primary custody of the child/children often get awarded more than those who have joint custody or shared custody agreements.
When a married couple gives birth in the state of California, the establishment of paternity occurs at that moment. When an unwed mother wishes to receive child support, she must first petition the court to establish paternity. An unmarried father may also complete a declaration of paternity either at the time of the child's birth or when the mother requests a child support order from the court.
The Judge's Final Decision
It is critical to have legal representation during divorce and custody hearings because the Judge's final decision stands. All parties involved are required by law to abide by all of the Judge's final orders. Anyone who does not abide by the requests may be subject to legal repercussions. If a parent violates the custody order, the order may also be modified to limit the contact that the offending parent has with the child/children in question.
In conclusion, the belief that mothers are always granted primary custody of the child/children in divorce proceedings is a myth. Many different considerations are taken by Monterey courts to help determine primary custody of children. In many cases, the father is granted this role. In order to help ensure the best interest of the children is achieved, seek the assistance of a good family court attorney.
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