A Look Back in Time: A Custody Battle Series – Part One of Three

Written by Mary Lou Floyd, CCLS

The Time:

1934 (trial dates October 1, 1934, to November 21, 1934, Judge John F. Carew presided over the trial)

The Issue:   

Custody of a 10-year-old girl. The names of the parties will be revealed at the end of this article.

The Laws:   

In New York and California, the Family Law judge’s goal is to make a custody decision that is in the “best interests of the child.” (New York Family Court Act; California Family Code, sections 3020-3204.)

Generally, under the New York Family Court Act, “the best interests of the child” include the following (Best Interest of the Child | NY CourtHelp (nycourts.gov)):

  • Which parent has been the main caregiver/nurturer of the child.
  • The parenting skills of each parent, their strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • Whether there has been domestic violence in the family.
  • Work schedules and childcare plans of each parent.
  • The child’s relationships with brothers, sisters, and members of the rest of the family.
  • What the child wants, depending on the age of the child.
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent and to encourage a relationship with the other parent, when it is safe to do so.

Under California law, some of the factors the courts will look at when determining the best interest of the child include (California Family Code sections 3011, 3020, 3040-3049):

  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
  • Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody.
  • The nature and amount of contact with both parents, except as provided in Family Code section 3046.
  • The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances by either parent.
  • The emotional ties that each parent shares with the child.
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child emotionally, physically, or financially.
  • Whether there’s a history of family violence or substance abuse.
  • The child’s ties to home, school, and community.

To be continued….


Categorized in: