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Friday, March 22, 2019
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Divorce Library > Child Custody and Visitation

Child Custody and Visitation

When parents divorce or separate in California they will need to address the issue of child custody and visitation by have a parenting plan that considers decisions about their parenting responsibilities and where the children will live.
A parenting plan can outline the parents responsibilities about child custody and visitation. In order for the parenting plan to be enforceable it should be in writing and signed by both parents, a judge, and filed with the property Superior Court.

Types of Child Custody

There are different types of custody parents will need to consider such as legal custody and physical custody. One parent may have custody of the children or the parents can share custody for the children. Child custody involves physical child custody and legal child custody. Physical child custody has to do with where the child lives. If the child lives a significant amount of time with both parents than the parents may have joint physical custody. If the child lives primarily with one parent and visits the other the parent the child lives with more has sole physical custody while the other parent has visitation rights. Legal custody has to do with decision making on major issues. In joint legal custody both parents are involved in the decision making process. If one parent has sole legal custody he/she has the right to make decisions for the child on major issues such as health and education. Parents who share both legal and physical custody are often said to have joint custody.

Child Custody Agreements

When parents do not come to an agreement on child custody and visitation the judge may have the parents meet with Family Court Services and set the matter for mediation. A mediator will meet with the parents and give the parents an opportunity to try and resolve their disputes on their own and come up with a parenting plan that reflects their child’s best interest. The courts may have different rules regarding mediation such as whether the mediator will make a recommendation to the court or not. Check with your local family court to learn the local rules and processes for mediation.

Child Custody Hearing

If the parents are unable to work out their child custody and visitation dispute in mediation a judge may hear the case at a hearing. In some case the judge may order a custody evaluation (also known as a 730 evaluation) in which a child custody evaluator will perform an investigation of the family dynamics and make a recommendation to the judge. Parents may be able to ask for a custody evaluation, but it may not be granted by the court. The standard used by the court for custody determinations is the overall best interest of the child.

Child Custody Lawyers

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