When a couple that has children together decides to end their marriage, it comes with a variety of important legal matters. It is vital that issues involving their kids be addressed before their divorce can be finalized. Both child custody and child support are often highly contentious issues in a divorce. This is why having a qualified family lawyer can help you immensely in these kinds of cases. It is the duty of the court to ensure your children’s best interests are always a priority. However, working with one of our child custody attorneys can help ensure that both you and your child’s voices are heard in court.
Divorces are difficult, complex, and emotional. Here at All American Law, we know how overwhelming legal family matters like child custody can become. That is why we are dedicated to providing expert legal services that make our clients our highest priority. Our team has over three decades of experience between our attorneys. You can count on us to find a solution that works for you and your unique circumstances. We have helped countless families and individuals across southern California. We are prepared to assist you with your family law needs, too. If you are going through a difficult child custody case here in Upland, do not postpone seeking help from our attorneys here at All American Law.
“Child custody” is a term used to refer to the right of a parent or guardian to have legal or physical responsibility for a child. Because every divorce is different, custody arrangements will differ from case to case and depend on the individual situation. There are two main forms of child custody that a parent or guardian may be granted in California:
Legal custody is a form of child custody given to a parent or guardian that allows them to make key decisions on their child’s behalf. This could include making medical or healthcare decisions, choosing a school for their child, and other long-term aspects regarding a child’s welfare. Legal custody can be awarded to both parents or just one, depending on what the court believes is best for the child at the time.
Sometimes, sole legal custody is awarded in a child custody case. This means that only one parent or guardian is given the “sole” right to make decisions regarding their child’s health and welfare. Sole custody is granted when the court believes it is in the best interest of the child to not have one of the parents make important decisions for them. The court may believe that it can have a negative impact on them or take an emotional toll. This often occurs when the other parent is not in the child’s life, there is a history of abuse, or the other parent agrees to lose their decision-making rights.
Joint legal custody refers to the sharing of legal responsibility and decision-making for a child between parents. This allows both parents to still have a say in the upbringing of their child, despite not being together anymore. Joint legal custody is commonly granted in cases of joint physical custody, where parents are already sharing basic child-care responsibilities.
Physical custody is the other main form of child custody in California. It refers to the right of a parent or guardian to have a child physically live with them. It also gives them the responsibility to care for their child’s basic needs. Physical custody decisions are dependent on a variety of factors. These include the child’s preferences, the emotional bonds between a parent and child, where the child goes to school, and more.
In some cases, the court decides that it is best for a child and their wellbeing to only live with one parent. When this occurs, sole physical custody is awarded to one parent, and the other parent may receive visitation rights. There are multiple different forms of visitation, including scheduled visitation. In this situation, children stay with the other parent, for example, every other weekend. However, not every case of sole custody allows visitation if the court believes it is not beneficial to the child.
When joint physical custody is awarded, this means that both parents have the right to have their child live with them. Joint custody can come in many different forms. It is usually scheduled depending on what works best for each parent and their kids. For example, some joint custody situations have children living with one parent in the summer and one parent in the school year. Other situations may have children living with one parent during the week and the other on the weekend.
The state of California requires that, in all child custody and child support cases, the best interests of the children involved be the primary factor in all decisions. This means that the parents and the court must always prioritize the overall welfare, health, and safety of a child when forming agreements. However, there are multiple other factors the court will consider when making decisions on a child custody order, including:
Child custody cases are known for quickly becoming complicated and intense. This is often because many parents do not want to “lose” their children. There are high emotions involved in these kinds of situations. Therefore, working with a qualified child custody attorney, like one of our lawyers at All American Law, is absolutely essential. With the help of our decades of experience, our attorneys can work with you to analyze your case. We can help determine what is best for you and your child moving forward. This also allows us to build a strong case to represent you in court. We know how difficult child custody conflicts can be. This is why our team is committed to offering professional representation and advice during tough times. If you are going through a divorce with children in the Upland area, our attorneys at All American Law are prepared to help you.
The ultimate decision over child custody must always be approved by the family court before it is finalized. However, parents can avoid court by meeting together, either separately or through a process like mediation, to make agreements on child custody. If they do come to an agreement, the court will approve it, and they can skip the litigation process. If the couple is unable to come to an agreement, or the divorce is already highly contested, the final decision will be handed over to the court.
Judges will look at a multitude of factors to make a fair decision about child custody. The most important of these is the best interests of the child. They will also consider other aspects, such as:
Parents do have the right to request a modification to their child custody order at any time. However, the request for changes may not always be accepted. If the court does accept your request, you will have to provide sufficient reasons and evidence as to why the order change is needed.
The term “parenting time” is used to refer to the amount of time each parent spends with their child in a certain period of time. When physical custody is shared, or a parent is allowed visitation, the parents will have to form some type of parenting plan. The parenting plan assigns different duties, potential schedules, and different terms for what sharing responsibilities for the children will look like.
As a parent, you always want what is best for your children. That is why complex divorces involving children can be incredibly difficult for any parent going through them. At All American Law, our team has spent years working in the realm of family law. We have helped our clients through the toughest of cases. We know how much your children mean to you. Our firm is dedicated to always fighting for their best interests.
To learn more about our accomplished child custody attorneys, or to schedule a free consultation at our firm, contact us today for more information.