Making the decision to divorce or separate is rarely easy, especially when children are involved. One of the most common reasons for disputes during the divorce or separation process is the determination of child custody. Who will be primarily responsible for caring for your child? What will your visitation schedule look like moving forward? An experienced Los Angeles child custody attorney will have the experience necessary to navigate these complicated legal matters with ease. To learn more, consider contacting Diaz Law Firm at (626) 261-0402 today.
Child Custody and Visitation in California
Child custody refers to the care and raising of a child following a divorce or legal separation. Determination based on the standards and requirements set forth by California family law, negotiating child custody often happens in court, in front of a judge. Visitation – the right of a parent to spend designated time with their child – is a component of child custody matters. When deciding on child custody and visitation, the California courts will utilize the following order of preference set forth in Section 3040 of the Family Code:
- Custody can be granted to both parents jointly or to one parent in particular. When granting custody, the courts will consider which parent is more likely to provide for the ongoing and continuing connection and contact with the non-custodial parent.
- If neither parent is suitable for custody, then custody can be granted to the individual or family whose home the child has been living in, granted the environment is wholesome and stable.
- To any other person who is capable of providing adequate care and guidance.
What Is Parenting Time?
Depending on the custody arrangement, parents may be required to reach an agreement regarding parenting time. Parenting time, also known as visitation, refers to the rights of the non-custodial parent to see their child. In many cases, when the court awards sole custody to one parent, a visitation schedule must be established to ensure that the non-custodial parent is able to spend time with their child. Parenting time can be either supervised or unsupervised, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Both parents are required to attend custody mediation, also known as child custody recommended counseling in some courts before a judge can make a decision regarding visitation. It should also be noted that parenting time agreements can be modified or adjusted with court approval. A knowledgeable Los Angeles child custody attorney can provide more detailed insight regarding parenting time and how visitation works in California.
Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody
There are two types of custody – legal and physical – which provide for different rights and responsibilities as it relates to the care of your child. These differences can be characterized as follows:
- Legal custody: the legal right to ultimately make significant decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and well-being. These decisions may include where the child goes to school, the type of medical care they receive, and their religious upbringing.
- Physical custody: where the child will live following the divorce or separation.
Both types of custody can be either joint or sole. If a parent has sole custody, they have total authority to make key legal decisions and/or have the child permanently reside in their home. In joint custody situations, which are common, parents are required to share these responsibilities. Parents who share joint physical custody do not necessarily share joint legal custody and vice versa. The courts will make an informed decision based on the best interest of the child.
About Diaz Law Firm
Established in 2008 by attorney Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz, DLF focuses on advocating for individuals and families as they navigate complex legal matters. We are guided by our core values and treat every client with respect and compassion, prioritizing transparency at every step. We will always fight for equality, justice, and peace. Through experience and dedication, we have been able to achieve successful outcomes for hundreds of California parents in child custody proceedings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Experienced Los Angeles child custody attorney Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz has served families who are navigating child custody and visitation issues for well over a decade. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that Cheryl receives from her clients.
Should You Hire a Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyer?
Navigating a divorce or legal separation when children are involved is particularly delicate and sensitive. Above all, it is essential to protect the well-being of the child. Seeking legal guidance can help safeguard the interests of the child and shield them from the ongoings of the court proceeding. An experienced attorney will skillfully negotiate on your behalf and assist with the creation of a parenting agreement that works for you, your former spouse, and any children involved.
To identify the right attorney for you, it can be helpful to review the law firm’s website and check the credentials and experience of potential attorneys. Then, consider scheduling a consultation to discuss the specific circumstances of your case. The right Los Angeles child custody attorney will listen to you and work to understand your unique legal challenges. Hiring a lawyer to assist with your child custody matters can be an incredible investment into your future, but it is important to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in their services
How Will Child Custody Be Determined in California?
Unless both parents can come to an agreement regarding custody, like in the case of collaborative divorce or mediation, the court will be responsible for evaluating the circumstances and making a custody decision. To determine child custody, the courts will abide by the rules and regulations of California law.
According to Section 3010 of the Family Code, both parents are presumed to be equally entitled to custody of their child. This means that the courts will not show bias toward one parent over the other. Rather, the judge will aim to make a custody decision that is in the child’s best interest. To determine what is in the child’s best interest, the following factors will be taken into consideration:
- Health, safety, and welfare of the child
- History of abuse against either the child or the other parent
- Nature and amount of communication between both parents
- Whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Potential separation of siblings
It should also be noted that in addition to these factors, the courts will sometimes consider the wishes of the child if they are mature enough to express a clear preference. Ultimately, however, if the preferred arrangement is not in the child’s best interest, the courts will override their preference.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Child Custody Attorney at Diaz Law Firm Today
If you are facing child custody issues, it is important to know that you are not alone in navigating these complex legal matters. At Diaz Law Firm, we understand the weight of these issues and work diligently to advocate for the rights of parents in child custody proceedings. Seeking legal assistance can make all the difference during this process. Consider scheduling a consultation with us or calling DLF at (626) 261-0402 today to learn more about how Los Angeles child custody attorney Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz can help.