Child Custody and Visitation in Non-Divorce Cases
Custody issues and visitation are often the most challenging disputes between two parents who have decided to separate, whether they were legally married or not. These issues are also complicated when they’re argued between family members. Child custody and visitation in non-divorce cases can present unique issues.
As long as paternity is not in question, the most important factor you need to understand is that the court will tend to favor the parent or family member who has been the child’s primary caretaker when deciding who will get primary custody.
If you and the other party can reach visitation and custody arrangements without the court’s involvement, that may be best course of action. A qualified family lawyer can help you sort out these details and strengthen your case.
Deciding Which Party Is the Primary Caregiver
California courts strongly believe in keeping the child with the family member who has held the role of primary caregiver. The bond between the primary caregiver and the child is very strong, and courts tend to believe that severing that attachment could be devastating for the child’s development.
That’s why the court will likely try to award custody to the person who fills this role, giving other involved parties visitation. Here are some of the factors the court will use in its determination:
- Who did most of the bathing and grooming?
- Who helped the child with homework?
- Who planned meals and fed the child?
- Who purchased necessary items for the child, such as clothing?
- Who attended parent-teacher conferences and events at the child’s school?
- Who planned and participated in leisure activities with the child?
- Who scheduled and attended extracurricular activities with the child?
Speak with a California Child Custody and Visitation Attorney
Child custody and visitation issues in non-divorce cases are a little different than in divorce cases, so if you have further questions, contact a family attorney. We are happy to discuss your case for free during an initial consultation.