How Does Child Custody Work in California?

One of the complex and emotionally challenging issues in a divorce is child custody. The stakes are high, and you should choose an experienced California child custody attorney to ensure the best possible outcome through an agreement with the co-parent, which will then have to be approved by the court. 

In some cases, a child custody or visitation dispute may not be resolved through negotiation, and the court will make a decision on behalf of both parties. The court will look at several factors before making a decision. Your San Diego child custody attorney should be able to clearly and forcefully present all facts before the court so that your goals in this matter are achieved.

What Factors the Court will Consider to Determine Child Custody

A family law court in California will consider a number of factors when deciding on a child custody case. The foremost concern of the court will be to make a decision that is in the best interests of the child. To uphold this standard, the court will look at factors such as the age and health of your child, the emotional relationship of the child with each parent, and child’s schooling and ties to the community. 

Any history of child neglect, abuse or domestic violence may impact the child custody decision. The legal procedure for child custody in California primarily focuses on establishing a viable parenting plan, which is in the best interests of the child as well as practically manageable for you and the other parent.

Physical and Legal Custody 

Your California child custody attorney will discuss with you whether you wish to seek physical or legal custody of your child. In most cases, the court will grant joint custody, whether physical or legal, to the co-parents. In exceptional cases, you or the other parent may seek sole custody. Judges rarely agree to sole custody where the parental rights of one parent are almost entirely denied.

In California, joint physical custody does not really mean that both parents will share exactly 50% each of the parenting time. But in general, both parents will have an opportunity to spend meaningful time with the child.   

Joint legal custody means that both parents share decision making related to the child’s health, schooling, religious upbringing and general welfare, among other things.

Sole physical custody or sole legal custody is more difficult to obtain. 

Visitation Issues

If the parenting plan is finalized in such a way that your child is spending most of the time with the other parent, you will get visitation rights. Just like custody, you and the other parent can negotiate a visitation schedule, or the court will decide on this issue while looking at your child’s best interests. In the future, if you want a previous custody and visitation order to be modified, you can make a request for order modification with the help of your San Diego child custody attorney.

Consult with a Seasoned California Child Custody Attorney

Child custody is often by far the most paramount issue to be settled in a divorce. At Neumann Family Law, APC, our skilled and compassionate San Diego child custody attorneys will work hard to ensure that a favorable settlement or court order is obtained in your case. Call us at (619) 282-1107 for a complimentary phone consultation. 

Find more like this: California Divorce Law

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