The Court is always bound to make a custody decision based on the child’s best interest. Depending upon the facts of the case, the Court will use either the best interest analysis or the changed circumstances analysis. The best interest analysis is used when making a permanent custody determination initially, and the court considers all pertinent circumstances bearing on the child’s best interest such as the health, safety, and welfare of the child. A changed circumstance analysis must generally be a showing of changed circumstances affecting the child. The change of circumstances must be a substantial change, a child will not be removed from the prior custody of one parent and given to the other, unless the material facts and circumstances occurring are of the kind to render it essential to the welfare of the child.
The Court considers several factors, some of which are, the income of each parent, the timeshare of the child, special education needs, childcare needs, and ability of the parent/payee to obtain work.
In ordering spousal support the Court will consider the factors of Family Law Code §4320, of which just a few factors are, the earning capacity of each party, standard of living during the marriage, duration of marriage, education/marketable skills of each party and the health of each party.
A marital estate will commonly have community property and separate property which are complex issues that will need to be discussed with an attorney to determine the characterization of each property. In dividing, the property, the Court will consider the characterization of each property in dividing assets for an equitable distribution to each party.
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