A divorce is often one of life’s most difficult experiences. There might be property and other assets to divide, and divorce is filled with important and emotional decisions that have to be made. However, the situation can be made even more complicated when there are children involved.
If you’re going through a divorce or you’re having custody issues with an ex-husband or wife, an experienced custody lawyer can help you through this difficult time. For now, it’s important to know your rights and how the child custody system works in California. If you need assistance, attorney Bruce A. Mandel is always available to help.
Types Of Custody
In California, there are two different types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent or guardian who is entrusted with the important decisions for the child, such as decisions about their healthcare, education, and other welfare issues. Physical custody refers to the parent that the child lives with. Physical custody can be joint or sole. If it’s joint custody, there’s no requirement that the time between the two parents must be split evenly.
Legal custody can be joint as well, where both parents have rights and responsibilities regarding making the important decisions about the child. Alternatively, legal custody can be sole, where only one parent or guardian has the right to make these decisions.
Having joint legal custody is challenging because it gives both parents the right to make decisions about their child without the input of the other parent. Each parent has the right to unilaterally make a decision.
However, if one parent does something the other parent doesn’t agree with, this almost guarantees that the parents or guardians will end up in court fighting it out in front of a judge. For that reason, parents with joint legal custody would be wise to try to agree on important decisions for the child.
In California, the court must base custody decisions on the best interest of the child. This is a subjective decision that will vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances. However, when considering custody decisions, the court will take the following elements into account:
- The age of the child
- The health of the child
- The emotional ties that exist between the child and each parent
- The ability of each parent to care for the child
- History of violence or substance abuse in the household
- Any ties the child has to their community, home, or school
If both parents are able to care for the child and there’s nothing notable in the parents’ history, it’s likely that the judge would come to some type of joint custody agreement. If for any reason, the child wouldn’t be safe with either parent, the judge would appoint custody to someone else. This is known as a guardianship.
You Don’t Need A Court Order For Custody Agreements
In California, you’re not required to have a court order for custody arrangements. If the parents are able to agree, custody becomes binding, and each parent is expected to follow the agreement. However, if one of the parents refuses to abide by the agreement, a judge cannot enforce this agreement until it becomes a court order.
Can A Parent Move Away With The Children?
After a divorce, it’s not that uncommon for one parent to want to move somewhere farther away. When children aren’t involved, relocation for one parent isn’t an issue. However, with children involved, it’s important to know what your parental rights are if you want to move or your ex is talking about moving away with the children.
The law is somewhat complicated, and it’s always advisable to speak with a lawyer about these issues. However, the general rule is that a parent who has sole custody can move away with the child unless the other parent can prove to the judge that it would be harmful to the child.
If the parents share physical custody and one parent wants to move, the parent who wants to move has to prove to the court that the move with the child would be in the child’s best interest.
Contact Bruce A. Mandel Today For Help With Child Custody
If you need more information or assistance regarding child custody issues in California, contact Bruce A. Mandel. He has been handling these types of cases for 30 years and will do whatever it takes to make sure your rights are protected and your child is safe.
When you contact attorney Bruce A. Mandel, you know you’re in good hands. Follow him on Facebook for more information. Call our office today at (424) 250-9130 or use the contact form to schedule a FREE private and confidential consultation.