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Child custody and the primary caretaker

For many Californians who are going through a divorce or a breakup, their future relationship with their children is their top priority. Although many couples are able to end their relationships amicably, thereby allowing each parent to play a pivotal role in their children's upbringing, sometimes the matter isn't so easily resolved. In fact, many times child custody disputes are the most hotly contested issue in family law. Therefore, those considering a divorce or a split with a significant other need to understand what they need to show to a judge in order to protect their rights.

Quite frequently, these cases revolve around which parent will have primary physical custody. That is to say, with whom will the child live? Previously on the blog we took a look at the child's best interests, and how this standard is applied to child custody cases. In addition to this standard, a court may also assess which parent served as the child's primary caregiver prior to the divorce or separation. This is critical, as a court may give preference to the parent deemed to have been the child's primary caretaker.

To demonstrate that a parent was and is a child's primary caretaker, certain things can be shown to the court. For example, taking responsibility for a child's day-to-day activities can prove key in demonstrating one's caretaking capacity. These duties may include feeding, bathing, and teaching a child. It also includes communicating with the child's school, participating in leisure activities, and arranging healthcare when needed.

There are a number of other issues that may be factored into this determination, so those who are about to enter into a child custody dispute should consider discussing the matter with their family law attorney. One of these legal professionals may be able to help develop a legal strategy that leaves a parent well-positioned to protect his or her legal rights as well as his or her relationship with the child or children in question.

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Law Office of Janice Munoz
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