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Child Custody in California

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A practicing attorney after she earned her juris doctor from the University of San Francisco’s School of Law in 1977 and became a member of the bar in 1978, Arlene D. Kock represents clients in courts throughout the Bay Area in matters such as general civil litigation, family law, and misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. For more than 10 years, she was called upon to serve as a Judge Pro Tem and a Court Commissioner Pro Tem in both the Alameda County and the Contra Costa County courts. Arlene Kock is especially proficient in matters dealing with California family law, such as child custody and parenting issues. She is highly rated by both her peers and judges.

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Child Custody in California

  1. 1. Child Custody in California Arlene Kock, Attorney
  2. 2. Introduction • A practicing attorney after she earned her juris doctor from the University of San Francisco’s School of Law in 1977 and became a member of the bar in 1978, Arlene D. Kock represents clients in courts throughout the Bay Area in matters such as general civil litigation, family law, and misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. For more than 10 years, she was called upon to serve as a Judge Pro Tem and a Court Commissioner Pro Tem in both the Alameda County and the Contra Costa County courts. Arlene Kock is especially proficient in matters dealing with California family law, such as child custody and parenting issues. She is highly rated by both her peers and judges.
  3. 3. Child Custody • California’s family code directs that custody of a child be granted according to the best interests of the child, and pursuant to a statutory order of preference that places priority on keeping a child with one or both parents. The child’s best interests specifically include considerations such as health, safety, and welfare; among the other factors the court is required to consider is the likelihood that the parent awarded custody will allow continuing and frequent contact with the non-custodial parent. When there is a history of domestic violence, it is the court’s responsibility to craft a plan that will permit safe contact with the abusive parent where feasible; the nature of the abuse in some cases will result in a prohibition of contact between the child and the abusive parent.
  4. 4. Conclusion • While it is conventional wisdom that parents are the best people to raise a child, others may petition for custody. Either biological parent may petition for custody, as may grandparents and step-parents. In fact, any person who believes he or she can provide a child with proper and suitable guidance and care is eligible to petition for custody. While California courts generally seek to award custody to the parents, either jointly or individually, the law does not impose any presumptions for or against such arrangements. Thus, if parents cannot agree on a custody plan, or if the court deems neither parent fit for custody, it may entertain custody petitions from other interested adults, especially those in the household or in the child’s extended family.

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