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In determining child custody, the court’s focus is on what is best for the child. While each parent may have a different perspective on how the child will be best served, California law dictates that the court start with two assumptions. First, the health, safety, and welfare of the child are paramount. Second, the court assumes that children do best when they have regular contact with both parents.

“Health, safety, and welfare” is an umbrella term covering a wide variety of situations and circumstances. For example, fathers do not have parental rights for children born from the rape of the mother, and a parent who has murdered the other parent foregoes their parental rights. Judges typically won’t grant custody or visitation to a parent who has been convicted of child abuse, and may limit both if there is documentation of partner abuse, child abuse, or substance abuse.

Factors that positively influence a judge’s decision are the emotional bonds between the parent and child, the parent’s history of involvement with the child’s life and activities, and the parent’s capacity to provide for the child’s daily needs. The judge may also consider which parent is more apt to encourage a relationship and contact with the other parent.

When making a determination about the welfare of a child, the child’s wishes matter – especially if the child is older or more mature. In addition, the court typically makes every attempt to keep siblings together.

Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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The Typical Divorce Process in California
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I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego