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Child Custody

California has a "joint custody" law that encourages judges to award joint "legal custody" to parents. This means that both parents have a right to make decisions concerning their children, such as education, medical treatment and religious training.

The court also has the power to award "physical custody" to one or both parents. Physical custody determines where the child actually lives, and it is most common for the children to spend most of their time with one parent. The parent who does not have primary physical custody is usually granted "secondary physical custody" or visitation rights.

It is most common for the non-custodial parent to have specified periods of time consisting of alternating weekends, one evening per night and one-half of the children's school vacations. In some cases, the parents agree to "reasonable" secondary physical custody or visitation rights, which means that the parents agree on the times when the non-custodial parent will have the children.

There are several types of custody that a court will decide:

Joint Custody: A court order that gives both parents legal and physical custody of a child.

Joint Legal Custody: A type of court order that allows either or both parents to make important decisions about a child's health, education, and well being.

Joint Physical Custody: A type of court order in which a child spends about the same amount of time living with both parents.

Sole Physical Custody: A type of court order which a child spends time with one parent only, unless reasonable visitation is ordered by the court.

Sole Legal Custody: A type of court order that allows one parent to make important decisions about a child’s health, education, and well being.

Child Custody is another legal issue that is extremely important and will have a direct effect on the issue of Child Support. There are different types of custody. There is Physical and Legal Custody. There is Joint and Sole Custody. Generally, Joint Physical and Legal Custody are awarded to those parents who are good parents and are not deemed to be a threat to their children. Sole Physical Custody is ordered when one of the parties is deemed to be an unfit parent or a parent who is deemed to be a threat to their children. If one of the parents has been convicted of domestic violence or a TRO has been granted and resulting in permanent orders, that parent will not be given joint physical custody. Custody is modifiable.

When the court decides issues of custody, “THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD” is the guiding principle. The court will look at a myriad of factors when deciding what is best for the child and the type of custody that should be allowed.

The parties are typically required to participate in court ordered mediation when issues of custody are at issue. A report will be filed with the court with custody and visitation recommendations. These can be challenged, but the court gives them considerable weight.

At ARCHER & ASSOCIATES we aggressively defend our clients’ rights to ensure they receive the correct type of custody and that the BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD ARE MET.

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