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What do judges consider when determining parenting plans?

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Child Custody, Family Law


There are many parts of people’s lives that change when they divorce in California. One of those parts of their lives that will change is when they will have their children in their care. In most situations, they will no longer see their children every day. While there are many different types of parenting time schedules, parents will need to split their time with their children with their ex-spouse in some manner.

The schedule and other aspects of parenting their children will be governed by a parenting plan. These can be agreed to by the parents, but not every couple is able to reach agreements on all aspects of their parenting plan. When parents are unable to reach agreements, judges will need to make the decisions for them.

Factors used to determine the best interests of the children

When making decisions about parenting plans, judges must decide what is in the best interests of the children. To do this, they need to analyze many aspects of the children’s lives with the parents. Judges will analyze:

  • The age and health of the child
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The child’s attachment to their current school and community
  • The parent’s abilities to parent the children and meet their needs
  • Whether there was any violence between the parents or between parents and children
  • Whether there is a history of substance abuse with either parent

After analyzing all relevant factors, judges need to decide which parenting plan is best for the children. They are not concerned with what a parent may feel is in their own best interest.

Custody and parenting plan determinations are very fact-specific decisions in California. Each child is unique and each parental situation is unique. Parents and judges need to analyze the current circumstances to determine what will be best for the children after the divorce. These can also be complicated determinations, which can be very emotional decisions as well. Experienced attorneys understand how these decisions are made and may be able to guide one through the process.