If you are an immigrant, whether legally or illegally, you may wonder how your immigrant status will affect your California child custody case. Do the courts favor U.S. citizens over non-U.S. citizens when determining custody. Though many individuals may think so, and though there are many factors the courts consider when determining child custody, immigration status is not one of them.

According to FindLaw, the California courts consider several factors when deciding how to split custody between two divorcing parents. The number one factor the courts consider, however, is the child’s best interest. To determine what type of arrangement would be in the best interests of the child, the courts will take into consideration several considerations, including but not limited to the mental health of the parents, the physical health of the parents, each parent’s home environment and the child’s relationship with each parent.

Though the list of considerations is certainly extensive, it does not, as mentioned above, include immigration status. This is even the case for parents who are in the country illegally.

That said, while the courts may not take into consideration your immigration status, they may make a determination based off impending deportation or actual deportation. Deportation has the potential to negatively impact your child’s life, which means the courts will give a deportation notice serious weight when making a determination. In short, though your immigration state will not directly factor into your custody case, possible indirect effects of your status may.

This article is for your educational purposes. You should not construe it as legal advice.