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Expanding definition of family complicates child custody

The definition of family is changing. As a result of the new laws on same-sex marriage sweeping the country, breakthroughs in reproductive technology and a lessening gender divide where women work just as hard and often as men, the typical family has become less easy to define. Certainly one new aspect of marriage is the growing acceptance of divorce. What these phenomena often result in are blended and growing families where children from previous and current marriages share households.

Recently, one married couple recounted their experience as a blended family. Both spouses had been in two previous marriages and along with those unions, children. According to researchers, families are becoming more socially egalitarian, and ethnically and religious diverse than ever before. While these new layered and culturally rich families bring depth and excitement to the family structure, there are difficult child custody questions churning in the background.

The state of California determines issues of child custody based on the best interest of the child. In any divorce case determining child custody can be a difficult endeavor. A case involving a second divorce where children from two marriages are involved can be all the more complicated. Ideally, separating spouses come to child custody agreements outside of the court. However, this is not always the case and occasionally the Court will be called upon to make a determination for the parties.

Addressing these difficult child custody questions without an attorney can make things all the more complicated. Experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel can help guide a party through the complexities of the law and work for a fair and equitable result for their client.

Source: New York Times, "The Changing American Family," Natalie Angier, Nov. 25, 2013.

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