The overarching consideration in custody litigation is what is in the best interests of the children. Your illness alone should not be the factor which would lead to a change in custody. If you do not have an attorney to assist you, you can reach out to the Family Law Facilitator at Sacramento to try to help you better prepare for trial. Here is the link: http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/family/self-help-center.aspx.
1. I think an important issue is your cancer, what type, what are the chances for recovery etc. you will need to subpeona a doctor's report and 2. What do your children want, has te judge talked to them. Why do you think the judge is leaning towards the father?
My name is Stephen R. Cohen and I have practiced over 38 years and can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practiced mainly in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. I am not seeking clients from existing relationships with other attorneys, and give only limited advise over the phone (the phone is primarily used to set appointments), these services do not create an attorney client relationship. I apologize for mispelling< as I am a lousy typist, My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth. Further regarding courts in other states my opinions are largely based on logic and what I think is the modern trend which is to consider the needs of the child.
The standard for determining child custody and visitation is still best interests. The court has the possibility of ordering a child custody evaluation to be conducted by a psychologist to help assist the Court in determining whether a change in primary custodial parent is best. The children also have the right to have their preference heard after reaching age 14. You as the parent also have the right to let the Court know whether the child has a preference. If your child(ren) is under the age of 14, it becomes discretionary as to whether the court will hear a preference. Having the children interviewed by a mediator is another possible option to try and start looking at what would be the childrens' best intesests, however, you are not required to agree with mediator's recommendations nor is the Court obligated to always follow them.
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