In re Marriage of Vargas & RossAnnotate this Case
Cynthia Vargas appealed a court order awarding father Christopher Ross primary physical custody of their minor children. Vargas was awarded temporary custody while Ross was deployed overseas. Upon his return, the issue of the children’s custody went to trial. Mother and father both testified at trial and numerous family court services reports, along with the mediators’ recommendations, were admitted into evidence. At the conclusion of trial, the court said if it were ruling on “straight best interest analysis, what’s in the best interest of [the children], my ruling would be that mother should be the primary custodial parent." However, the court found the case law interpreted the military deployment presumption in Family Code section 3047 to mean the children would return to the father once he returned. Mother argued the trial court misinterpreted section 3047, and the Court of Appeal agreed. The trial court was directed to evaluate the evidence and issue a custody order based on the best interest of the children, and consistent with the Legislature’s intent and the express terms of section 3047.