One of the most difficult things about getting divorced is deciding who gets custody of a child. A custody battle takes a toll on both the parents and the children. If divorcing parents can’t agree on the details of custody, then the court gets to decide for them. Child custody is complicated. That’s why you need to know the legalese and basics of child custody so you know what’s going on when you’re in family court.
This article will discuss the basics of California child custody law, including a brief overview of the legalese involved. If you’re facing a divorce or separation, our family law attorneys can help ensure that you win your child custody case! Call our Upland child custody attorneys now!
CA Child Custody Basics
Sole Custody vs Joint Custody
As the terms suggest, sole custody means that only one of the parents gets awarded custody. Joint custody means that both parents will share custody. You’ll typically see terms like “custodial parent” and “noncustodial parent” when discussing sole custody.
These apply separately to physical custody and legal custody. For example, parents can share joint legal custody but one parent has sole physical custody. It’s also possible that one parent has sole legal custody but has joint physical custody with the other party.
Both parties are encouraged to share both physical and legal custody. California child custody laws presume that such an arrangement is in the child’s best interests.
Physical custody is the parent’s right to have the child live with them. If a parent has sole physical custody, then that means the child primarily lives with one parent. When this happens, the court will also decide on visitation rights, which will be explained later on in this article.
Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. If you have legal custody of your kids, you can decide things like:
- whether a child should receive medical care;
- whether a child will engage in religious activities; and
- where a child will go to school
Usually, you’ll have to share legal custody with another parent unless:
- The court decides that one parent is unfit to decide on these important matters;
- The parents cannot decide anything together;
- It would be in the child’s best interest for one party to have sole legal custody;
If a court decides to award sole physical custody to one parent, they will also include the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent to spend time with the kid.
A common visitation calendar can include splitting school vacations and holidays or alternating weekends overnight at the non-custodial parent’s place. The visitation schedule also includes the pick-up and drop-off locations for the child. The parents may work on the visitation schedule and have it approved by the court if it’s in the best interest of the child.
Supervised Parenting Time
If the court finds that the non-custodial parent has patterns of abuse, absence, or neglect, then the judge may order supervised parenting time instead of a visitation schedule. When this happens, the court assigns a visitation supervisor.
The supervised parenting time may include restrictions such as parenting time at a court-approved location, instead of the parent’s place.
If the case is extreme, then the court may decide that it’s not in the best interest of the kids to visit the parent at all.
Children are precious. We know how important it is for a parent to spend time with their child and make decisions about their future.
If you’re going through a divorce and want to ensure that you get to spend as much time with your child as possible, talk to us. Custody cases are best handled with a lawyer specializing in family law by your side. Our Upland child custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Marc Grossman can give you the best possible chance at winning your child custody case and get custody rights.Call us now to schedule a free consultation!