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Physical and Legal Sole Custody: What Does it Mean in a Paternity, Legal Separation or Divorce in San Diego in 2014?
Physical custody refers to where the child or children live with each parent. In San Diego, and it does not matter whether the parents are married or not, when the parents are in a legal separation, divorce or paternity case, there will be an order for physical custody. Sole legal custody, in San Diego Superior Court, is very rare. This would mean that one parent has the authority of where the children live. For most cases, in San Diego, the parents share custody. This sharing can be in the form of joint legal custody or one parent having primary physical custody and the other parent having visitation. Some plans have true joint legal custody such as day on/day off, week on/week off or other parenting plans. One common parenting plan, now in San Diego, is referred to as a “2,2,5". This means the child or children are with one parent every Monday and Tuesday, the other parent every Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday rotate. This has the benefit of minimizing transfers which are almost always pick up or drop off at school and also neither parent going more than 5 days without seeing their children. Each case is, of course, unique and each parenting plan will have some differences. Do not forget holidays, birthdays, Mother/Father Day, three day weekends, school breaks and vacations in considering the physical parenting plan. Custody, in San Diego, is determined by the best interests of the children and not of the parents. This includes stability, frequent and continuing contact and bonding among others.WHAT IS LEGAL CUSTODY, AGAIN, WHETHER A DIVORCE, PATERNITY OR LEGAL SEPARATION?
Legal custody is decision making authority. Decision making authority can include medical decisions, religious upbringing, medical decisions, school decisions, therapy and many others. Sole legal custody allows one parent to make all of these decisions without the consent of the other parent. Sole legal custody, as with sole physical custody, is very rare in San Diego Superior Court. The “norm” is joint legal custody in which both parents make decisions regarding the child’s life and upbringing. Sometimes, parents do not agree on medical treatment and a Judge has to make the decision when there is joint custody of where the children go to school.WHAT DOES SOLE PHYSICAL AND SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY MEAN?
When a parent has both sole legal and sole physical custody, this means that one parent makes all the decisions. This may be ordered, on a temporary basis, when a military members is deployed over seas for an extended period of time. This may also be ordered, on a more permanent basis, if one party moves out of the country and is not intending to return and a Judge will not order visitation in the foreign country due, to example, the country not being part of the Hague Convention. In addition, if one party is in custody for an extended period of time, the Judge may well order sole legal and sole physical custody.HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM HELP YOU?
The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can assist you with your parenting plan as well as legal and physical custody. Their law office is located in San Diego and has a full time staff. In addition, they offer a complimentary and confidential consultation with an attorney in their office up to 30 minutes with an appointment. Physical and legal custody are very complicated issues and the California Family Law code is complex and expert assistance is often needed if an agreement between the parents cannot be reached.