What is the Hierarchy of Custody Preference?
In Family code 3040(a), a hierarchy is set forth the order of preference in making custody and visitation orders. The order of preference is as follows: 1) Both parents or either parent; 2) person whose home child has lived in that is a wholesome & stable environment; 3) any other person court deems suitable to provide adequate care and guidance for child.
How it Would Practically Work
Let me run through a couple of hypotheticals for you. First, if a parent dies, the court would award custody of the child to the other parent. Similarly, if both parents are unavailable (incarceration etc.), the court will award custody to the other parent. Second, if a parent re-marries and has exclusive custody of the child and that parent dies, the court would order custody the other parent over the step-parent. Finally, if there is a history of a non-parent raising a child and that child is thriving in that environment, then the court would maintain the child in that situation over another party who wants custody of the child.
If you have questions as to where you may lie in the order of preference, contact Covina attorney Paul Eads today.