When there is a dispute about the role of unmarried or divorcing parents in the lives of children, the family law court system is usually asked to determine the respective rights of everyone involved. The rights of California parents to spend time with their children are called custodial rights. There are some basic assumptions incorporated into laws and judicial philosophies regarding the amount of time each parent is allowed to spend with children. Depending on the specifics of a situation, a judge may award sole, partial or joint custody of children.
Although family courts in California take unique circumstances into account when reviewing child custody petitions, four basic guidelines form the basis for parental evaluation. These are positive environment, previous involvement, present participation and personal character.
Divorcing California parents are often terribly conflicted and confused by the choices put before them regarding custody disputes.