When a judge talks to you about a child's best interests, what they're referring to is the best actions for the health and happiness of your child. If you are speaking to a mediator, your attorney or others, they will ask what you believe will be in your child's best interests when deciding custody.
Child custody is something that most parents will fight for. They want to have time with their children and to see them grow up. When the other parent is taking steps to make that impossible, parents have few other options than to reach out to their attorneys and the court for help.
Child custody concerns are always an issue for parents who can't agree on the way to raise their children. That's why the court is adamant that parents come up with a parenting plan that is agreed upon by both parties.
California provides for several kinds of visitation orders. These, also called "time-shares," are plans for how parents will spend their time and share time with their children. There are four general visitation orders recognized by law.
Child custody can be complicated, especially when you and your spouse aren't getting along well. It can be particularly difficult if you can't agree on your schedules.
We've talked about the divorces of famous couples here before -- largely to show that divorcing couples, regardless of how much money they have or how famous they are, deal with many of the same legal processes and challenges that all couples do. When they have children, much of the divorce is focused on developing a custody plan.
It's common for one spouse to move some distance away after a divorce. They may be seeking someplace with a lower cost of living than pricey Southern California. They may want to live near parents, siblings or other family members. Perhaps they opt to take a job that pays better or offers more opportunity for advancement.
Many children realize at a very young age that they can "play" their parents against one another to get what they want. When parents are separated or divorced, this can be even easier to do. Often, all it takes is to tell one parent that the other won't let them do (or buy) something to get the other parent to agree. Divorced couples are often vying to be the best-loved co-parent, and what better way than to give your child something your ex won't? It's also a good way to get under an ex's skin.
At this point, the divorce of superstar couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has lasted about as long as they were together as a married couple. Interestingly, the Los Angeles County judge who married them in France in 2014 is also overseeing the divorce. His position jurisdiction over the case has been extended until the end of next year.
If this is your first holiday season as a separated or divorced parent, you're likely facing the prospect of not being with your kids on the holidays themselves or not seeing them every day throughout their winter break. Maybe they're even going away for a few days or longer with your co-parent. You can minimize your holiday blues and help your kids enjoy the season with some planning.