When children are part of a divorce, child custody and visitation tend to be the parties’ primary objective, and other matters like spousal support, child support, and the division of assets and debts tend to be less important.
Understanding the Types of Child custody
In the initial stages of a divorce, it is up to the parents to establish a parenting plan that is in the best interest of their child. It is always better if the parties develop a parenting, which encompasses their child’s best interest. If the matter goes in front of the judge, that judge does not know your child and will make a determination based on what evidence is presented.
However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney in order to discuss your options.
Physical custody is when the minor child is in the care and control of a parent. There are two types of physical custody: joint physical custody and sole physical custody. Joint physical custody means that each parent has an approximate equal time share with the child. Joint physical custody ensures that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents, which is the public policy of California. See California Family Code section 3004.
However, there are some scenarios in which it is not in the child’s best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with one parent. The court may grant one parent sole physical custody. Sole physical custody is when the minor child resides with only one parent and the other parent has visitation with the child, which is usually ordered by the court. See California Family Code section 3007.
Legal custody regards the decision making for the minor child. There are two types of legal custody, which are joint legal custody and sole legal custody. Joint legal custody is when both parents share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions relating to the child’s health, education, and welfare. See Family Code section 3003.
Sole legal custody is when only one parent has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and welfare, and that parent does not have to consult the other parent. See Family Code section 3006.
The Factors on Which the Court Decides the Matters of Child custody
When parents are unable to reach an agreement about a parenting plan, it may fall into the hands of the court. A family law attorney will help you understand how the Court reaches the decision and what factors the court will consider. The court’s primary concern is the child’s health, safety, and welfare and the child’s right to be free from abuse. See Family Code section 3020.
The Right Documents
If you are in a custody dispute, an experienced attorney will assist you in preparation of pleadings and evidence you may need. Also, a family law attorney will prepare you for Family Court Services and any court appearances.
If you need assistance preparing for a child custody and visitation case, call the Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC today at 800-769-4748 to get a free 30-minute consultation with some of the most experienced and skilled divorce attorneys in San Diego.