What You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws in CA

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Going through a divorce is difficult for any family, but the stakes are higher when the couple shares children. Heading into a divorce makes it all too easy to believe misinformation about what child custody in your case might look like, especially if you’re conversing with friends who went through a recent divorce.

What Are the Two Types of Child Custody in California?

In California, changes in a family unit that shake up the living situation prompt decisions around two types of custody: physical and legal. Most people are familiar with the concept of physical custody, which relates to the child’s ability to stay with or live with their parents. Legal custody, however, refers to the ability to make decisions about welfare, health, and education for that child. A parent can be awarded one or the other or both.

In One parent having physical and legal custody does not mean that the other parent is denied meaningful visitation. Courts are charged with determining a visitation schedule that reflects the best interest of the child.

The Four Types of Visitation Orders

Parents in California can come to their own terms about which type of visitation schedule they use with their children, but many couples cannot get on the same page about this. In those cases, the judge can render a decision about which of the following visitation types will best suit the circumstances:

  • Reasonable visitation, where both parents can determine what reasonable looks like for them. It can either be a detailed or open-ended schedule if both parents can agree to it.
  • Scheduled visitation, in which a schedule of times and dates when the children will be with either of their parents, addressing weekends, holidays, vacations, and special events.
  • Supervised visitation, which a judge can order in cases where there are claims about substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or concerns about parental abduction.
  • No visitation at all, which a judge can assign in cases where they have determined that even supervised visitation would represent a threat to the child’s best interests.

How Does California Determine Child Custody and Visitation?

Judges evaluate child custody based on the case’s factors at hand with the underlying rule of the child’s best interests at play. To determine the child’s best interests, the judge will consider the children’s school situation, existing schedules, and relationships with either parent and any factors that might influence the situation that gives the child the best environment. As mentioned above, parents can also decide what this looks like for their family and get the judge to sign off on it so long as that schedule reflects the child’s best interests and both parents have agreed to it.

When Is It Time to Talk to a California Divorce Attorney to Contest Child Custody or Visitation Rights?

When you and your partner are on the verge of separating or thinking about a timeline for divorce, it’s appropriate to reach out to divorce lawyers. You are not committing to filing for divorce by merely reaching out to an attorney, but it does help you understand your options.

If You Cannot Afford Child Support, What Are Your Options in California

The non-residential parent is most likely to pay child support to the other parent to contribute towards the financial needs of raising a child or multiple children. For a parent who doesn’t have financial resources, this can present a serious problem. Since child support is court-ordered and there are consequences for not following through on paying it, you need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities here to make an informed decision.

To formally change an existing child support order, you’ll want to hire a child support lawyer to help you file the paperwork requesting a modification. A family attorney can help you present a strong case as to why the order needs an adjustment.

When deciding what level of child support to award, the judge will consider earning capacity, income, and age, among other factors. If you’re not able to make these payments, don’t ignore them—this will only escalate the situation and make it seem like you’re consciously trying to avoid payment.

Preparing to Divorce with Children? Contact Paul Seabrook, An Experienced San Jose California Family Lawyer

When you’re ready to search “divorce lawyers near me” because you have questions, reach out to us at Seabrook Law Offices in San Jose to walk through the possible steps of a divorce and how you can expect this to impact you. Paul Seabrook, an experienced California family lawyer, and our team at Seabrook Law offices can help you understand the best approach towards these complicated situations. With a mission to help parents protect children through divorce, we recognize that this is a dangerous time for your kids. We understand how much you are hurting, which makes it difficult to focus on your children. However, we encourage you to put on your grown-up pants and handle your divorce carefully, with the assurance that Seabrook Law Offices provides reliable representation. The family court system is a sewer system, and it’s best to get out as quickly as you can so you and your kids can move on to a happier future.

If you have questions, concerns, or even need support with modifying an existing child custody or child support order, give us a call at 408-560-4487 or complete the form on our website to schedule your consultation.

Copyright© 2021. Seabrook Law Offices. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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6840 Via Del Oro, Suite 265
San Jose, CA 95119

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