How Sexual Orientation, Religion And Handicap Affect Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-child-custody-attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsIn a child custody case, people sometimes wonder if a parent’s sexual orientation, physical handicap, or religious beliefs have an impact or effect on child custody.

Sexual Orientation

It is fair to say that Orange County, California has been known as having residents often with conservative beliefs. It is widely known that the officials, elected representatives, and courts have traditionally leaned towards conservative views. Yet, does it play a role in determining child custody? Since 1998, the Courts in California have held that homosexuality of a parent cannot be a determining factor alone in a child custody case. The judges in the courts deem heterosexual or homosexual behaviors irrelevant to the child custody because child custody depends on the betterment of the child. Unless the sexual conduct poses any real threat to the child, it is regarded as the parent’s private matter.

Religious Practices

This is another factor that is more a myth than a factor. Orange County family law courts are not allowed to deny custody or visitation to any parent because of their religious beliefs. There is, however, one condition. If the religious beliefs pose a threat to the child, that may be a reason against granting child custody to that parent. Courts are also open to let parents talk to their children about their practices as long as the religious practice involves no kind of illegal activity. The courts follow these rules because the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment protects the religious beliefs of the individual.

Physical Handicap

Can physical disability of a parent be used as a means or argument to stop the child custody being awarded to someone? That’s definitely not the case.  Disability can be considered in combination with other reasons to decide child custody issues, but only basing child custody decisions on disability is forbidden. The thing that courts have to consider is whether the parent can care for the child or not. If the parent, despite his/her disability, can care for the child, there is no reason for the court to not grant him or her child custody.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”