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Posted on October 4, 2017 in Child Custody

I was in the grocery store the other day, glancing at the tabloid headlines as I stood in line to check out, when my eyes fixated on one particular headline. It was regarding a celebrity couple divorce, the names escape me. The headline read, “Divorce gets ugly! Who will get the kids.” This headline sparked a train of thought that I have seen numerous times throughout my career: child custody is not black and white. Custody is not about Mom or Dad “getting” the kids. Custody is an ever-flowing schedule that family law judges create in order to ensure that the child is adequately supported, and that the child is able to maintain strong relationships with each parent.

The family court has a strong interest in maintaining relationships between the child and both parents. Child custody is not about the parents. It is only about what is best for the child. Judges hold this standard above everything else when determining a child custody schedule: What is in the best interest of the child.

All too often, parents focus on the wrong thing when going through a divorce where child custody is at issue. Parents attempt to place the spotlight on the other parent, and focus all their efforts on trying to show that the other parent is a “bad parent.” This is not the proper way to go about winning a child custody battle. Judges want to see both parents working together to foster a relationship between the child and both parents. When you focus your efforts on exposing bad parenting habits of the other parent, you have lost sight of what is most important: the child. What does the child want? What is best for the child?

In the majority of family law cases, there is no such thing as 100% custody. The non-custodial parent will always have visitation time with the child. The question becomes, how much visitation time? In answering that question, parents should focus on what is best for their child. If your child loves the other parent and wants to spend time with him or her, then isn’t that what is best for the child?

California law states that judges must do everything in their power to maintain “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. It is a misnomer that gaining “sole custody” implies that the other parent does not get to see the child. “Sole custody” by definition means that one parent has custody of the child for over 50% of the time. That percentage can be 51% to the custodial parent, and the other 49% to the other non-custodial parent.

In winning a child custody case, a parent needs to focus on the child, and not on the other parent. Show the court that you are the parent who will go above and beyond to ensure that the other parent maintains a relationship with the child. Show the judge that you want your child to have a healthy relationship with the other parent, because you know that it is what is best for the child. This small change in your line of thinking will drastically affect the way that the judge sees you as a parent. Judges tend to grant custody to the parent whom they feel will work to keep the other parent in the child’s life. Be the more reasonable parent who wants to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent, and the judge will likely look more favorably to you.

To learn more about child custody and ways to win your custody case, call Attorney Scott & Matteson Family Law, CFLS at (858) 974-4900. Scott & Matteson Family Law is a certified family law specialist, with specialized experience in child custody proceedings.