Child Custody and Visitation
When parents separate, they must decide how their children will be taken care of, who will have "custody," and how much time each parent may spend with the children. Generally, if parents agree on a plan, the court will approve it. If parents are unable to agree, the court will decide.
There are two types of custody orders: legal and physical. Legal custody means having the ability to make important decisions about your children's lives (such as health care and education), and physical custody means where your children live. In California, either parent may have legal and physical custody of the children, which is called sole or primary custody, or the parents may share it, which is called joint custody.
In addition to both types of custody, "visitation" determines how parents will spend time with their children. Except in very rare circumstances, even a parent without custody will still have a right to visitation with their children. The amount and type of visitation will vary greatly based upon the situation.
In determining custody and visitation, the court must make the best interests of the children involved their primary concern. The court will take into account the ages and health of the children, the emotional ties between the children and their parents, the ability of each parent to care for the children, histories of family violence or substance abuse, and the ties of the children to their families, schools, and communities.
Our office recognizes that custody and visitation are often contentious and emotional issues. We know that the welfare of your children is your first priority, and we are prepared to aid you with sensitivity and compassion. Please call today to schedule an initial consultation.