Divorce is a topic that has touched the lives of many in the San Diego area at some point in their lives. Child custody issues are a part of divorce that also garners a great deal of time and attention. As such, it is important that you have a basic understanding of Family Law and how it works with your specific situation. However, resources offering correct information are few and far in between.
In California, there are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. Most parents seek to share both types of custody wherever possible. However, when parents can't agree on issues of custody, judges end up having to make custody decisions. These custody decisions are based on a concept referred to as the "child's best interests."
Here are some basic definitions for terms used in determining custody issues:
Legal custody is the parent's right to make decisions about their child's welfare, health, and education. Such decisions can include; where a child will go to school, religious activities, and medical care (except in emergency situations).
Joint Legal Custody is when both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child. It should be noted that joint legal custody does not mean that the child necessarily spends equal time with both parents. Most parents share joint legal custody unless they cannot make decisions together, one parent is unfit, one parent cannot make decisions regarding the upbringing and general welfare of the child, or it would be in the child’s best interests for one parent to have sole legal custody.
Sole Legal Custody means that one parent alone has the right to make all major decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child without the other parent's input. It is important to note that this does not mean that the parent who has sole legal custody will also have sole physical custody.
Physical Custody is where the child lives after a divorce or separation and is different from legal custody. Physical custody is having the child physically present in the home. If a child lives most of the time with one parent, that parent is the "custodial" or "residential" parent. The other parent usually has visitation and is considered the "non-custodial" or "non-residential" parent.
Joint Physical Custody means that both parents share physical custody or equal time with the child.
Sole Physical Custody means that the child lives with one parent but courts have the authority to order specified visitation with the other parent.
In order to determine who will get what custody rights over a child, courts will try to determine the best interests of the child. Some factors that could impact whether staying with one parent is in the child's best interest are; drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence or mental illness. A whole battery of other factors are also examined by courts.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. Individual circumstances and facts vary from case to case. Any and all questions about custody or family law should be directed to a qualified and experienced family law attorney.About Clairemont, California:
Part of the post-World War II building boom, Clairemont quickly became a large suburban San Diego neighborhood. Amid the palm trees and gorgeous blue skies, Clairemont stands out as a community that is convenient to nearly all parts of San Diego. Extending from the 52 freeway to the 805 in the east and the 5 in the west, Clairemont is strategically located in the center of everything. Clairemont residents have access to great schools, restaurants and easy access to a plethora of outdoor activities.
If they have need to utilize a courthouse, Clairemont residents typically use the family courthouses located on 1409 4th Avenue and 1555 6th Avenue. Both of these locations hear divorce cases and domestic violence disputes.About Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation:
At Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation, we understand that this is a difficult time in your life. However, it is important that you get all the information you need in order to make the best decisions. To help you with this goal, we offer a complete and confidential consultation so you can meet with our experienced staff and discuss your legal strategy. For your convenience, you can schedule this appointment online or call us at 858-312-8500.
Our attorneys have a great deal of experience in all types of family law issues. We are members of the San Diego Better Business Bureau and the San Diego Bar Association. We are located just a quick drive from Clairemont in Rancho Bernardo. From the I-15 Freeway, take the Bernardo Center Drive exit and turn left into the Clock Tower Office Complex. To assist you, we are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. and closed on weekends and holidays. Call us today for your consultation!