The Child’s Best Interests

San Jose Child Custody Lawyer

1. Children adjust better to break-ups when their parents are not hostile toward each other. Conflict between two parents will create problems for the children because of the tension, anger, and loyalty battles this conflict generates.

2. More contact there is between children and parents is generally better than less contact. Contact between parents and minors should be planned with the child's developmental needs in mind.

3. Parents who live at a greater distance from each other will have to make more effort to maintain a close parental relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. (See Long Distance Parenting.) As the child matures developmentally, longer periods of time away from the minor’s primary residence are possible.

4. Children have different temperaments. The temperaments of minors need to be considered. Some children adjust well to change, are easygoing, and can move back and forth between parents and homes easily. However, other children have a more difficult time with change and are slower to adjust with this change. For children who have difficulty adjusting, this change creates so much anxiety that it often will undermine the beneficial effects of more visitations, this is especially in younger children. As infants, children will require frequent visits of shorter duration (example 4-5 times per week for 2-4 hours each time). For the toddler to older child who has trouble with the change or travel, the transition to less frequent, longer visits should occur slowly. The non-custodial parent must never use a child's inability to take changes well as an excuse to limit contact with the other parent.

5. Children should not have to make decisions about with whom they should live. Asking a child to choose creates enormous guilt, anxiety, anger, and fear. In fact, in California children are not legally allowed to choose with which parent they want to live. This decision can only be made by parents or judicial officers, not by the child, and the child can only influence this decision when the minor is of sufficient age to make an informed intelligent and mature decision as to their preference.

6. The child's needs should take precedence over the adult's needs. Part of being a good parent involves putting your own needs aside and doing what is best for your children. Children need a strong relationship with both parents, not just one. Contact with each parent should be planned with all of the children's needs in mind.

Contact San Jose Child Custody Lawyer Merrisa L. Coleman-Bishop.