During a divorce either the parents get joint custody or one parent gets full custody. However, life is not constant and situations may change. If one parent received full custody and now the other parent wants to regain custody the courts may allow this. The situations vary from one household to another but more importantly the court looks at the best interest of the child. Therefore, if the child changes their mind or decides they are not happy or comfortable with their current living situation for a good reason the courts will take this into consideration. If a valid reason has been given the judge will order the changes. Another example a judge may change the child custody that was issued if one parent has obtained a job and now needs the assistants of the other parent.
However, when you want to change your child custody in California, you cannot make a decision only through discussions between your spouse, and you need to go through a particular procedure at the family court. In the section below, the article will explain everything you need when you are getting a divorce and have minor children and are seeking custody.
Who has custody of the minor children?
During a marriage, parental custody of the children is always shared by both parents. This joint custody usually remains after the separation or divorce of the parents. The divorce itself does not influence the shared custody.
Joint custody can become problematic in the case of parents who are not married to one another or after the parents have separated/divorced. The question then often arises as to whether a parent can leave parental responsibility or at least part of it to themselves.
Often a (complete) transfer of parental responsibility to one parent alone is not necessary. Because the parent with whom the child lives has the power to decide on all day-to-day matters due to their sole right of decision.
Guardianship by law:
If parents do not exercise custody due to legal regulations, guardianship in California is automatically the responsibility of the minor children’s welfare office. This so-called legal guardianship occurs, for example, for a child who is not under parental care at birth (because the mother is not yet of legal age), with consent to the adoption (if neither parent has parental authority anymore).
In this case, the locally responsible minor children’s welfare office takes guardianship without an express order from the court (minor children’s welfare office as guardian). It only receives a certificate from the family court that guardianship has taken place.
The court can take into account the request for a particular guardian. On application, the family court can appoint the grandmother as guardian for the child of an underage mother even before the birth (assuming the necessary qualifications are met).
Minor Child support in the event of a divorce:
When it comes to child support, there is no need to ask whether there is a claim or not. A child is always entitled to maintenance from its parents. In addition, child maintenance must always be paid first, i.e. before spousal maintenance is paid.
If the parents live together, they both pay for the child’s upkeep, upbringing, and care. On the other hand, if they live separately, the parent who is not caring for them is obliged to make maintenance payments. The parent who does take care of the child in their own household is always responsible for maintenance.
Maintenance must be paid to the child regardless of the circumstances. If he is still a minor, the payments will be transferred to his guardian. Child support must also be paid in the event of a new marriage, whereby an adoption transfers the maintenance obligation to the adoptive father. However, both parents must first agree to adoption because all rights regarding the right of contact are lost.
After divorce, there are only a limited number of cases where a change of parental authority is permitted. The procedure for the change is also specialized and can be complicated. If you want to maximize the possibility of changing parental authority, or if you want to change parental authority smoothly, please contact a legal expert in your area.