Child Custody Law
In matters where there is a dispute as to which parent will care for the children, we seek to assist our clients in achieving a parenting plan which will achieve our clients wishes and will be in the best interests of the children.
California considers each parent to have an equal role in the raising of their children and generally the courts award joint legal custody and joint physical custody to the parents barring any outside issues which would make a legal custody matter detrimental to the child.
What is Legal Child Custody?
Legal custody is the ability of the parents to have joint input in making decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the children. When the parents have joint legal custody, they must consult with each other before enrolling the child in school or selecting new doctors or making other decisions which can impact the children. If there is a dispute on these issues, one parent may bring the dispute in front of the court and ask that the Judge make a ruling.
What is Physical Child Custody?
Physical custody is where the child resides. The courts can make varying types of orders pertaining to physical custody based on proximity of the parents to the child’s home school [the school where the child attended before the breakdown of the parents’ relationship], age of the child and other factors.
Factors in a California Child Custody Case
In situations where one parent has been convicted of domestic violence towards the child or the other parent, there is a presumption against that parent having custody of the child. The court may order supervised visitations, or daytime visitations and make set out requirements for the parent to meet before granting additional time to that parent.
If a parent has a drug addiction or alcoholism, the court may also limit the time that parent has with the child. Any allegations of substance abuse must be corroborated by sources other than the other parent. For example, if there are criminal convictions or investigations from protective services then evidence of that can be presented to the Court. The courts will make rulings as to what they feel is in the best interest of the child. They will take into consideration many factors such as whether the parent is no longer using drugs or alcohol and the impact it may have on the child. The court may make orders that neither parent use drugs or alcohol when with the child.
A final factor that the courts will look at is which parent is the most likely to encourage the relationship with the child and the other parent. If one parent is seeking to restrict the other parents time or makes false allegations of abuse the court may consider that parent to be alienating the other parent and may reduce time.
We can provide you with support and guidance through your custody case and assist you in making decisions that are right for you and your family.
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