California and Nevada Child Custody
If family law is the mother of all civil litigation, then child custody is the mother of all family law litigation. Nothing is more sacred to almost any parent, and no interest is more protected in law, than that of an individual being allowed to be a parent to their own child. With most parents, the uncertainties of California and Nevada child custody litigation and determinations are the greatest source of anxiety and stress in any action in which such matters are to be decided.
California and Nevada Child Custody: Serving a Child’s Best Interests
During and after divorce, both California and Nevada courts are invested with very broad discretion to determine the best interests of minor children, and how those best interests can be served by appropriate child custody and visitation orders. The court exercises its discretion in making decisions regarding legal custody of minor children, which relates to the decision-making process affecting the child’s health, education, and welfare, as well as physical custody of the child, which relates to the residential schedule of where a child will live on any given day, during any given week, and during any part of any month of the year.
California and Nevada Child Custody: Relocation
Given society’s mobility in this day and age, the courts are also faced with a common challenge of determining custody, both legal and physical, in light of one parent’s intended relocation from what may have been a home of common residence during marital cohabitation. It is impossible to do justice to the complexities of the legal standards that govern the determination of these matters in this limited discussion, but both states have essentially evolved to considering the good faith intentions and purposes of the proposed relocation, the benefits to the children that will be affected by that relocation, and the balance of those concerns against the impact on the relationship between the proposed relocation of minor children and their relationship with the parent who remains a resident of the original marital cohabitation locale. Further complicating these concerns is the conflict between considering the best interests of the children as a whole and each child individually where those considerations may be different, one child to the other.
In instances where there is a proposal to relocate the residence of a number of children of the marriage, the court will likely consider the impact on each one of the children separately, and then determine if those needs favor the relocation of one or more child but disfavor the relocation of another, as well as the impact of the children being separated as a result of the relocation. In other words, the impact of one or two children moving to a new locale while another remains in the original area residence. Rarely will the court elevate the interests and concerns of a parent in the relocation to a level that disregards the needs and interests of minor children in that relocation process. This office remains alert and committed to addressing not only the complex legal issues that child custody and visitation present, but also the stress and anxiety parents experience as they face judicial determination of their fundamental right of parenting and interaction with their minor children.
Settle Child Custody Issues Out of Court if Possible
We strongly encourage parents to consider agreements to settle what otherwise would be adjudicated concerns, whether it be by way of mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, to allow them some substantial input and quantum of control over their future relationship with their own children.