Parents in California who are getting a divorce might wonder how a judge will make a determination about custody and visitation. A judge will be concerned about the living accommodations available to children, but this does not mean there are definite rules. A judge will assess each situation on its individual merits, and decisions may vary from judge to judge.

The judge will consider the gender and age of children as well as how many children there are in deciding whether there is adequate space for them. Older children may want at least a modicum of privacy, so parents might be required to have separate rooms for their children. However, a judge will also take into account that in some cases, it may not be financially possible for parents to offer as much space as would be ideal. Judges also recognize that children benefit from being with both parents, so parents should not worry that they will not have access to their children because the other parent is wealthier.

Another consideration is how well the child will adjust in a parent’s new home as well as whether the area is safe or one that has a high crime rate. The best interest of the child is the main principle by which a court makes a decision about custody and visitation.

While parents might be able to negotiate a child custody agreement without going to court, this is not always possible. Parents may want to discuss strategy with an attorney before going to court. For a court appearance, they should dress appropriately and behave respectfully toward both the judge and one another. Parents who have been primary caregivers for the children may want to bring evidence demonstrating this. Whatever the judge’s decision, parents should make an effort to co-parent and avoid conflict in front of their children.