Best Interests of the Children – Ensuring their Health, Safety, and Welfare, Part 2

by | Feb 12, 2013 | Firm News |

In evaluating the best interest standard, the Sacramento child custody court considers which parent will facilitate a workable relationship with the other parent and willingly resolves conflict in a way that places the children’s needs first.  Also, the court considers whether one or both parents are willingly facilitating an ongoing relationship between the children and the other parent’s extended family.  In contrast, high-conflict parents can demoralize their children by turning them against their extended family.  They can also harm the children by turning them into messengers or having them communicate threats.  These are actions that are not in the children’s best interest and can negatively affect the custody award.

Parental absence is another issue of concern to the Sacramento child custody court.

The courts consider how often a parent is absent from the home or from the children’s lives.  The court considers the reason for the absence and how that absence is affecting the children.  Depending upon the reason for the absence, the court may decide to consider or ignore the absence for purposes of deciding custody.

The Sacramento child custody court also considers other important safety issues such as the presence of domestic violence or parental substance abuse.  Domestic violence (which includes threats, hitting, harassing, destroying personal property, disturbing the peace, sexual battery, etc) is widely known to cause an extremely negative impact upon children.  As such, a finding of domestic violence results in a rebuttable presumption that the perpetrator should not have custody.  The perpetrator can rebut the presumption by showing successful completion of a batterer’s intervention program, successful completion of a drug/alcohol abuse program, successful completion of a parenting class, obedience to court ordered probation/parole guidelines, and compliance with any protective order/restraining order terms.

Parental substance abuse is another significant part of the Sacramento child custody court’s best interest analysis.  Substance abuse bears directly on the parents’ fitness to properly parent the children and meet their basic needs.  Accordingly, the court is to consider the nature, extent, frequency and severity of any alleged abuse and must make findings on habitual illegal use of controlled substances.  The court is allowed to review police reports, court orders, conviction records, and medical records in determining substance abuse.  If the court finds good cause to believe there is substance abuse, the court can order drug/alcohol testing to help confirm substance abuse.

If you are about to undergo a custody battle, please do not hesitate to call us for a free half-hour consultation.  Our Sacramento child custody attorneys are prepared to meet with you and discuss your custody options.