Many believe that physical custody will normally default to the mother or that once a child reaches a certain age, their choice will prevail over most other reasons.
Among other factors it finds relevant, California Family Code §3011 considers all of the following: the health, safety and welfare of the child, any history of abuse by a person seeking custody against certain persons, the nature and extent of contact with both parents, and the habitual illegal use of controlled substances or alcohol.
The meaning of the first factor “health, safety and welfare” is broad. Reams of paper are filed each day at the courts from parents attempting to move the court in their favor. The nature of the legislature’s findings, declarations, and application of this are found in Family Code 3030-3032.
The remaining factors are more straightforward by definition, but are usually backed up with more evidence. Written reports by law enforcement, child protective services or other social welfare agencies, courts, physicians, rehab facilities, schools and other witnesses are frequently used to support and confirm testimony, written and verbal.
Not understanding the court’s considerations when asking for a custody award will probably result in a waste of your time, resources and possibly a loss your credibility, not to mention a denial of your request. If you are determined to represent yourself and want to proceed effectively, you should consult with a compassionate and experienced family law attorney first.