Following a divorce in California, it is possible that a mother and father can come to a parenting agreement on their own. However, it may be necessary for a judge to determine who gets custody of a child. In most cases, the primary caretaker will get physical custody. The primary caretaker is the one who generally provided more emotional and other support to the child while the parents were married or otherwise together.

Ideally, the court will not separate a child from the person he or she counts on for emotional and other support. Experts say that severing this bond could harm a child as he or she develops. There are several criteria used when determining which parent is the primary caretaker. For instance, the court looks at who feeds the child, helps with homework and provides transportation.

In the event that a determination cannot clearly be made, the child’s best interests will be taken into consideration. In some cases, the child may be able to state his or her preference. Courts will also look at a parent’s ability to create a stable home that is free from emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

After a divorce, there may be a dispute as to who should have primary custody of a child. Absent an agreement from the parents themselves, courts may instead look at what would be best for the children. Those who wish to have primary custody or otherwise obtain maximum parental rights may wish to talk to an attorney. A lawyer might be able to establish that an individual can provide a safe and stable home.