California parents can take steps during and after a divorce to make the adjustment less difficult for their children. A healthy co-parenting relationship can be a big part of this adjustment. If parents are able to focus on their children and their best interests, they may be able to set aside animosity even after a contentious split.
Most divorced parents in California are looking to co-parent their children in a healthy, peaceful environment. However, while the parents' motivation might be positive, creating a successful parenting plan is not easy. Even when both parents agree on a schedule, they need to remember that parenting plans are works-in-progress that might need to be revisited as their family's needs change.
Most parents in California believe that they can effectively raise their children. However, to gain custody, parents will need to convince a judge that they can provide a safe and stable environment. It will also be necessary to show that they have taken an active role in that child's life. Therefore, those who are seeking child custody should spend as much time with their children as possible.
Child support issues can be particularly overwhelming when the California parents in question are living in poverty or are dealing with the social effects of systematic racism. A study by the Urban Institute indicates that of the total child support debt in the United States, 70 percent is held by parents who make less than $10,000 each year, putting them below the poverty line and barely able to sustain themselves. A film called "Where's Daddy?" aims to look at the question of the child support system and how it impacts African American fathers in particular.
Single parents in California generally become custodial parents if their children live with them the majority of the time. This arrangement, however, might require a court to officially declare that a person is a custodial parent. Even someone who has sole physical custody because the other parent is voluntarily uninvolved in the child's life could need to petition a court so that the custodial status becomes a matter of public record.
California parents who are getting a divorce may opt for joint legal custody even if physical custody is not shared. Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make major decisions related to issues such as health care, education and religion for a child. It is common even for a parent who only has visitation rights to share legal custody with an ex.
The breakup of a relationship is never easy for California parents, and domestic abusers can use child custody to prolong their influence over victims. According to the American Psychological Association, most people assume that children will get to live with the nonviolent parent when a couple splits. Family courts, however, too often make parental rights a priority even for domestic abusers. Custody evaluators and judges generally believe that children benefit from relationships with both parents. A report from the American Judges Association found that abusers have a 70 percent success rate when they go to court to gain custody of their children.
California residents who are seeking custody of their children have to work to balance their needs with the needs of their children. One way that parents can obtain a favorable outcome is to keep good records. For instance, they could write down how much time was spent with the child or how much money was spent to provide for a son or daughter.
When California parents get a divorce, they might need to be particularly careful about ensuring that their children spend enough time with their father. In some cases, if the child lives with the mother and the parents are not diligent, a child's relationship with the father can suffer.
California parents who are getting a divorce might wonder whether shared parenting would work for them or if it would be disruptive for their children. Some people might think that because they are in a high-conflict relationship, they will be unable to manage shared parenting. However, studies show that neither of these assumptions is true.