If you are fighting for the custody of your children I can help you work out a solution in the best interest of the children. I encourage my clients to be respectful in all negotiations because I recognize that everyone will have to work together to implement any visitation plan.
What types of custody are there in California?
Whether you are dealing with a dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership for the first time or facing a modification years after a judgment, the issues related to child custody orders are much more complicated than they may seem at first glance. First of all, custody in California is separated into legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. Physical custody on the other hand refers to where the child lives.
Won’t the court grant me full custody?
Most parents will be surprised when they learn that most courts will award joint legal custody, which means both parents are entitled to make key decisions for the children. However, the specifics of a joint legal custody arrangement will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the family. It is important to spell out as many details as possible in the initial order, including how to work through certain issues when they arise.
OK but can’t I get sole physical custody?
The division of physical custody is much more complicated. For purposes of calculating child support payments, the separation of physical custody is simplified into percentages. The percentages used here are important when the Court calculates child support obligations because the parent who spends a larger percentage of time with their child will be presumed to take on a larger chunk of the childcare costs. When there are two parents sharing custody it is common for one to be considered the primary caretaker and spend most of the time with the child during the week. The other parent is often given time during specific evenings during the week and some weekends.
In every case dealing with child custody, the Court is going to send the parents to mediation to work out a schedule that is in the best interests of the children. However, hiring an attorney early on can help you prepare for this mediation in order to get the most out of it and understand the resulting orders.
How does the court handle cases with three parents?
When three parents are recognized as involved in the life of a child, the courts will attempt to split the time between the three of them in a way that allows for each of them to spend significant time with the child. One important consideration here is the ability of the different parents to be flexible when sharing their time with the other parents. When changes need to be made to the schedule as ordered by the court, the best way to address it is to try to discuss it is through an informal agreement with the other parents.