Child Custody & Visitation
For many California couples, child custody is one of the most important issues in their divorce, legal separation or paternity case. Having an experienced family law attorney is significant in making sure that your rights and custody desires are fully expressed to the Court and represented. The attorneys at Masson & Fatini, are experienced in child custody matters and can help advocate for your rights in a contested custody matter.
What is the difference between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?
In California there are two types of custody, Legal custody and Physical custody:
Legal custody − Provides authority to make decisions about the child’s welfare, health and education. Examples of this type of authority include decisions on where the child is to attend school, the type of medical treatment they should receive and whether a child should go to a therapist. Legal custody can be joint or sole and can be agreed upon or determined by the Court.
Physical custody − Is the time the child(ren) spend with each parent. Physical custody can be established as joint physical custody where the parents equally share custodial time, or sole physical custody when the child(ren) reside primarily with one parent, the other may be entitled to visitation.
How does the Court determine Custody?
In determining child custody, the Court determines the best interest of the child(ren) by looking at several factors. It additionally places significant weight on “maintaining the status quo.” This means they do their best to maintain the custody schedule the children had during the marriage.
Some of the factors used:
- Age of the child
Is it a baby and the mother is still breastfeeding? Is the child in school? Is the child a high school who drives and has a strong preference about residing with only one parent?
- Primary parenting
Did one party care primarily for the children during the marriage such as waking them up, getting them dressed, feeding them, taking them to and from school and doctor’s appointments?
- Domestic Violence
Was one parent physically or emotionally abusive to the children?
- Substance abuse
Does one parent have a history of alcohol and drug abuse? Have the children been exposed to this abuse in the parent’s presence?
- Ability of both parents to properly care for the child
Is one parent constantly traveling for work and leaving the children with a babysitter? Does one parent have poor parenting skills that put the children in danger? Since custody is such an important issue, having the proper advocate in your corner is not only paramount for establishing your position to the Court but also in expressing your concerns or fighting to keep your children in a safe home. The attorneys at Masson & Fatini, provide the skills and expertise you need for a custody battle.