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Establishing Child Custody In California: How It Works

Establishing Child Custody In California: How It Works

Child custody is often the most contentious aspect of divorce for parents. When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, they will be required to go to mediation to try to work out a custody plan. If they are still unable to reach an agreement, there will be a trial, and a judge will make the custody decisions.

Child custody attorney Bruce A. Mandel represents parents who are seeking to establish or modify child custody. We understand that there is nothing more important to you than your child’s wellbeing. We will work with you throughout the entire custody process and advocate for the best outcome for you and your child.

Physical And Legal Custody

Physical and legal custody are two types of custody in California. Physical custody means the time that a child physically spends with each parent. When joint physical custody is awarded, the child lives with both parents. When sole or primary custody is awarded, the child lives with one parent most of the time and visits the other parent.

Legal custody means being responsible for making decisions for a child. Parents can have joint legal custody, which means that they share the decision-making responsibility for their child. Alternatively, one parent can be awarded sole legal custody, which means that only one parent has the right and responsibility to make legal decisions for a child.

Parenting Plans And Judicial Decisions

Child custody is determined exclusively by what is in the child’s best interest. If parents agree to a parenting plan that provides for agreed-upon custody terms, the judge will typically approve that plan unless he or she thinks it is not in the child’s best interest. When parents do not agree on custody terms, a judge will decide on the custody arrangements.

A judge may order any type of arrangement that he or she believes is in the best interest of the child. For example, one parent may be awarded sole legal custody while both parents are awarded joint physical custody. A judge could instead order joint legal custody and joint physical custody if it is in the child’s best interest for parents to share responsibility equally.

The Best Interest Of The Child

As mentioned above, custody decisions are based on the child’s best interest. Factors considered in determining the child’s best interests include the child’s age, health, and bond with each parent. Judges will also consider the parents’ ability to care for the child and any history of violence or substance abuse.

Child Custody Attorney

If you need to establish a child custody arrangement or custody modification, you need an experienced attorney to protect and advocate for your parental rights. The Law Offices of Bruce A. Mandel has decades of experience representing parents in child custody, child support, divorce, and other California family law matters.

Contact our office at 424-250-9130 to schedule a consultation. You can also submit an online form, and someone from our office will get in touch with you. Follow us on Facebook for more information about our law firm and California family law updates.