Does Income Matter in California Custody Battles

Child custody is often one of the most controversial issues when parents go through a divorce. One of the biggest concerns that some parents face is how their income and finances affect their chances of getting custody of their children.

Understanding California’s custody laws and how the courts handle custody arrangements can help you know what to expect as you begin the divorce process. This article will discuss California law regarding how your income and finances can impact the court’s custody decision and parental finances, as well as other factors that can affect a custody case.

Types of Child Custody in California

The court will look at the evidence in the case when determining the type of custody in your child’s best interest. In California, the two main types of child custody are:

  • Legal custody gives the parent the right to make decisions for the child that will affect their life. Some of these decisions include medical, religious, and educational decisions. The only way a parent makes the decisions with legal custody of the child is if the decisions put the child at risk.
  • Physical custody establishes which parent the child will reside with. If the child lives with you at least part of the time, you have physical custody of the child.

The nature of the custody order will explain whether you will share custody with someone else.

  • Joint custody means you and the other party will share rights to the child. Both parents will have a say in making decisions about the child.
  • Sole custody means you are the only person with custody of the child. You have been given the sole authority to make all of the child’s decisions, and the child lives with you all the time.

How is Child Custody Affected by a Parent’s Income in California?

California family courts prioritize the child’s best interest when determining child custody. This takes precedence over any other factor. However, while income and finances aren’t expressly stated in child custody statutes, they can influence the court’s decision of what is in the child’s best interest.

During a child custody case, the court will examine the income of each parent and their ability to support the child. They will also look into the financial resources of both parents. If one parent makes significantly more than the other, they will more likely be able to provide for the child so that they may have an advantage in a child custody case.

Mitigating Financial Differences Between Parents

If one parent is a stay-at-home parent with little to no job experience, that doesn’t mean they will automatically lose custody of the child. Instead, the courts may award child support to the lower-earning parent to ensure the child is financially supported in the same way they were before the divorce. Alimony is also a way to even out each parent’s income level.

However, it’s essential to understand that if a parent’s lack of income prevents that parent from providing a safe, stable home for the child, that could affect the outcome of their custody case. Before the courts award custody, they must be shown that a parent can provide a safe home for the child.

Other Factors That Affect Child Custody in California

Child custody is never automatically granted to a mother or a father in a California divorce. The judge will review various factors to ensure the custody decision they make suits the child’s specific needs.

Physical and legal custody will be determined according to the child’s best interest, and a judge may consider the following factors.

  • The child’s age
  • If the child has special needs
  • Whether the child is established at school, church, or their hometown
  • If they are old enough, the child’s wishes
  • The child’s bond with each parent
  • If there is a history of domestic violence
  • Each parent’s history of substance abuse and their criminal history

While the courts won’t award custody to a parent only because they make more money than the other, money may become a factor when looking into other matters. For example, if financial issues stem from a substance abuse problem, the courts will consider that.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika for Expert Legal Representation for Your Child Custody Case

In child custody cases in California, while the court considers a parent’s income and finances, they are not the sole factor when determining custody. While the child’s best interest remains at the forefront, the courts strive to create custody arrangements that will nurture the child and their overall well-being. Seeking the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney can help parents navigate child custody challenges more effectively.

At Azemika & Azemika, our practice is exclusively devoted to family law cases. That allows our team of expert family law attorneys to handle all types of family law cases with efficiency and great attention to detail. We use extensive experience to customize each case to our client’s needs.

Contact us today for a consultation.

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