In this article, you will learn:
- When a child may have input into custody decisions
- How custody is decided
- When in the process and how child support will be determined
Custody is interesting because California recognizes two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the determination of important things involving the children. Now, that can include schools, medical decisions, and any important decisions that involve the children that usually involves legal custody. So, California has a presumption here that both parents are entitled to joint legal custody, meaning that both parties, both parents, should be involved in important decision-making for their children.
In California, the laws are pretty clear that, absent certain circumstances that involve the child’s welfare, parties will be entitled to joint legal custody. As to whether there’s an age where a child can have an input, that age is 14, but one of the things that the courts also look into when they start hearing from children is whether they understand and where they are at in their ability to process and rationalize the divorce. As you can imagine, as children start to get older, the courts start to listen to them more and more because of that ability to rationalize to be able to understand what is in the interest of the children. At the end of the day, the courts are first and foremost attempting to determine the best interest of the children. Children under 14 may be able to testify and be able to provide their input, but it’s more discretionary taking into consideration factors such as their level of maturity and ability to rationalize why they want what they want.
When And How Child Support Will Be Awarded During The Divorce Process
Usually, as I had mentioned earlier, there are two stages. One is the initial temporary stage, which is from the filing until there’s a trial and/or a final judgment. During the initial stage, the process of obtaining child custody and child support orders involves filing a request for order for the court to make a determination on child custody, child visitation, and child support. So, a function of child support is first having to determine the time shares with the parents, since child support is merely a calculation based upon income that the parents earn. There’s a calculator that is used, whether it’s Dissomaster or Ex-Spouse, that determines the amount of child support in California.
That can happen early on in the process by filing a motion (also known as a request for order), because usually, when you file the request for order, it gets set for a hearing approximately a couple of months out, or they can wait until the process is nearing the end at the trial. Still, most people do not wait till the end. There is a third avenue where people can seek child support, and that involves filing with the Department of Child Support Services. They can also assist with a child support order, again based upon the same things that I just alluded to, which is income and timeshares.
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