How a judge is likely to determine child custody

The standard that overrides everything else when it comes to children in a divorce is what is in the children’s best interests. San Francisco parents can be sure this is the yardstick a family court judge will use to determine child custody. Issues that deal with child custody can often seem overwhelming and confusing, so it might benefit parents to know how a family court judge might consider those issues. For the most part, there are common things in these proceedings that a judge will contemplate. 

Typical factors that can impact a custody decision  

The following are some things a family court judge will likely consider when making issuing a child custody order: 

  • The child’s age: Younger children will need more one-on-one care, and a judge will most likely look at who has been the child’s main caregiver. 
  • How a child might be impacted by a change in an existing routine. 
  • The ability to parent: Can each person meet the child’s needs physically and emotionally? Also, a custodial parent must be able to provide the necessities of life like shelter, food, clothing, health care, education and so on; 
  • Consistency: Children thrive on a steady routine, so a judge might look at consistency of living arrangements, school, visiting family members, etc. 
  • The child’s safety: A judge will typically not grant custody to a parent if he or she believes a child’s safety may be in jeopardy. 

Judges want to see evidence 

Judges usually like to allow for routines to continue that which children are familiar with. If a parent is thinking about relocating a child, he or she will have to show the judge why the move would be in the child’s best interest. Most judges also believe children do much better when they have positive relationships with both parents as long as abuse is not present. 

When a San Francisco judge determines child custody, it can be a time of great stress for parents and children. A parent in this case may find the process less disquieting with the guidance of a lawyer. Seeking an attorney’s advice may increase a parent’s likelihood of achieving the best possible outcome from any type of child custody battle or dispute.