Helping CA Families Resolve Child Custody Matters
One of the most devastating aspects of a divorce is the potential of losing the ability to live full time with your children. If you are going through a divorce or are otherwise engaged in a child custody dispute, the Giammichele Law, APC can help.
Join us for a consultation to discuss your parental rights and options during this challenging time. We have a proven track record of helping parents obtain custody arrangements that are fair and in the best interests of their children.
Call our Laguna Woods child custody attorney today at 949-339-1845 for reliable legal counsel.
How California Determines Custody & Visitation
In a California child custody case, both parents begin with equal rights to custody. Importantly, California does not automatically award custody to either parent, nor do they show preference based on either parent being the mother or the father.
A court will take several factors into consideration to determine how parents will share time with their children. Ultimately, a judge's decision revolves around the best interests of the child.
How Do The Courts Determine the Best Interests of the Child?
- The court's chief concern is the safety, health, and welfare of children
- It is presupposed that children usually benefit from frequent contact with both parents
Within the confines of these two policies, the court can consider any issue relevant to parenting, and will take into account all the unique circumstances of each case. The child or children's best interests are chiefly considered in custody determinations.
California family courts will consider the following in deciding on custody matters:
- The age and health of the child
- The emotional bonds between the child and their parents
- Any ties the child has with their home or local community
- The ability for either parent to provide care for their child
- Any domestic violence or substance abuse history in the family
The courts may not use a parent's religion, sexual orientiation, or physical disability as grounds to deny that parent custody.
Legal Custody & Physical Custody in California
Child custody cases consist of both legal custody and physical custody.
- Legal custody refers to a parent's right to participate in making decisions pertaining to a child's health, welfare, and education.
- Physical custody pertains to the child's physical presence with a parent.
In many situations, parents are awarded joint physical custody, which means each parent will have significant periods of physical custody. If the parents are given joint legal custody, they share equal responsibility in making major life decisions for the child.
This does not necessarily mean the parents will have an equal amount of time with the child. Those who are awarded with joint legal custody may or may not be granted joint physical custody.
California courts favor joint legal and physical custody when both parents are in agreement. However, if the parents to not agree, the court will formulate a parenting plan that is in accordance with the child's best interests. If a judge rules against a parent's request for joint custody, they must provide a written explanation of why such a decision was made.
How to Resolve a Child Custody Dispute
In California, parents are permitted and encouraged to create their own parenting arrangements regarding legal and physical custody. Under California family law, parents who disagree over custody matters must seek to resolve their differences in mediation before taking the matter to court. If mediation proves unsuccessful, a judge will determine a suitable custody arrangement.