Child custody in California is not just limited to parents of a child or an unrelated caregiver in their absence. Federal law also allows the court to consider giving custody to relative over an unrelated caregiver when it determines placement of the child. The court, however, may only place a child with a relative if that person meets the standards set by law. For instance, the relative is required to be an adult and must meet the child protection standards prescribed by law.
A custody dispute over a child in California can be resolved with the help of the Family Dispute Resolution Program. The FDR at the Center for Families, Children & the Courts assists, trains, supports and consults with court programs and also serves families in order to reach a quicker resolution to a custody dispute. This process of family dispute resolution through mediation is free of cost and alleviates the pain and trauma related to such disputes. The goal of the process is to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the child.
Under certain circumstances, California laws allow for a change in child custody order. One or both parents may seek to change a child custody order, due to a variety of reasons such as an increase in the age of the child, or his or her changing needs, activities and interests.
Almost half of all marriages in the country end in divorce, and California is among the states with the highest divorce rates. The end of a marriage signals many changes to come and the very nature of a divorce may cause emotional turbulence and stress to the parties involved.
In many divorce cases, children can suffer the worst from their parents' estrangement. Many times, child custody and child support can become a very bitter and drawn out battle. Custodial issues are exacerbated in cases where the children are born out of wedlock. In most states, including California, the father may not get automatic paternity rights or custody.
Due to the bitter feelings between estranged spouses or intimate partners, divorce is often acrimonious. Divorces can also have grave financial repercussions. Issues such as the assessment of spousal support, child support and child custody can become major points of conflict during a divorce proceeding. In such cases, out-of-court settlements for divorce related issues can prove beneficial.
Oakland divorce is especially hard on the children of a broken home. It thus becomes imperative for parents to act responsibly and put their own issues aside, while finding a good solution for the child. Courts may often guide parents to formulate a parenting plan, visitation schedule or custodial agreement to formulate all terms of child custody.
Divorce mediation is a process by which estranged spouses seeking a divorce can negotiate terms and conditions that would be favorable to both parties in front of a neutral third party. Divorce mediation, however, is different from arbitration. While an arbitrator has the power to make decisions which can be binding on both parties, a mediator does not have any such authority. Most states, including California, allow mediation proceedings in divorce cases.
California residents would probably agree that divorce is the result of the breakdown of the marital bond and more often than not, the process divides entire families. Children are often the greatest casualties of a divorce. And while joint custody is usually preferred by both parents, custodial battles and battles regarding child support usually lead to increased acrimony.
Historically speaking, the U.S. judicial system was, at one time, usually siding with the mothers during child custody battles. Over the years, as various gender stereotypes have been rejected in favor of a more equitable mode of parenting, family law courts also began to give more recognition to fathers' rights in matters of child custody.