Folsom Child Custody Attorney
What are the Custody Laws in California?
Generally, California law encourages joint custody arrangements where both parents participate in the legal decision making regarding the child’s general welfare and both parents participate equally in raising their children. Courts generally strive to ensure that the child maintains frequent and continuing contact with both parents unless one parent is unfit. No preference is given to either gender and equality is granted to all types of parents.
Practically speaking, not all cases are identical and not all parents play an active role in parenting. Situations like this or situations where there are issues of abuse and/or neglect can play a significant role in the resulting custody and visitation orders.
Child custody is an extremely difficult matter for divorcing or separating parents to face. Parents naturally want to protect the best interests of their children. If you are dealing with custody and visitation issues, having orders that are not only specific and detailed will help to avoid confusion later.
Does It Matter Who Files for Custody First in California?
No, it does not matter who files for custody first in California. The judge will make a ruling solely on the best interests of the child. Child custody cases can be complex, so it is important that you obtain legal representation to help you through the process.
How is Child Custody Determined in California?
When determining visitation rights, the court does what is in the best interest of the child, and takes the following into consideration:
- The age and health of the child
- The emotional ties between the parent and child
- The ability of the parents to care for the child
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse
- The child’s ties to school, home, and community
Courts may not deny visitation rights based on the parent’s sex, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or marital status. However, custody and visitation rights may be denied to either parent if it is determined that contact with either parent would harm the children.
What Are My Rights as a Father in California?
By default, mothers and fathers have equal rights to custody in California. Unless there is something that makes one of the parents unfit for custody, one parent is not preferred over the other. In the most ideal case, the parents would have a joint custody arrangement. However, the judge will take many factors into considering and make a ruling in favor of the child’s best interests. It used to be that the mother was typically favored in these rulings, but more and more, fathers are being given custody.
What is an Unfit Parent in California?
There are several factors that could prove that a parent is unfit for child custody in California, keep in mind that these must be proven with evidence to hold weight in court, some of the most obvious factors include:
- Child abuse
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Mental illness
- Other factors the judge might consider are the parent’s involvement in the child’s life, the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, the child’s feelings, age-appropriate parenting, the parent’s ability to handle conflict.
Types of Custody Orders
In California, there are two types of child custody:
- Legal custody – This determines who makes important decisions for the children, including health care, education, and welfare.
- Physical custody – This determines who the child lives with.
Both types of the above custody can be either joint or sole:
- With joint legal custody, both parents have the right to make decisions about aspects of the children’s lives, but they do not have to agree on every decision.
- With sole legal custody, only one parent has the right to make decisions about the aspects of the children’s lives.
- With joint physical custody, children split their time between parents, with one parent typically having slightly more time with the children, since it is difficult to split the time exactly in half.
- With sole physical custody, the children reside with one of the parents, and the other parent is typically granted visitation rights.
Who Has Custody of a Child When There is No Court Order in California?
Without a court order, parents have equal rights to their children in California. This means that both parents have the legal right to decide about the child's upbringing, including where the child lives, what school the child attends, and what medical care the child receives.
However, just because both parents have equal rights does not mean they have equal time with the child. The parents can decide on a parenting plan that gives equal time to each parent with the child, or they can agree on a different arrangement. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the judge will decide what is in the child's best interest and make a ruling.
The factors that the court will consider when making a custody decision include:
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The parent's ability to provide for the child's physical and emotional needs
- The parent's willingness to cooperate in raising the child
- The child's age and maturity
- The child's choice, if old enough to express one
It is crucial to speak with our custody attorney to discuss your options for custody. Our attorney can help you understand your lawful rights and options and represent you in a Folsom court if necessary.
Types of Visitation Orders
Visitation orders vary depending on what is in the best interest of all parties involved. There are different types of visitation, including:
- Visitation according to a schedule – A visitation schedule helps avoid conflicts and confusion. Visitation schedules can include holidays, special occasions, and vacations.
- Reasonable visitation – This type of order does not necessarily have details as to when the children will live with each parent, but it works well if each parent communicates and can be flexible.
- Supervised visitation – This type of order occurs when the children’s safety and well-being require that visits with one parent be supervised by the other parent, another adult, or a professional agency.
- No visitation – This happens when visiting the parent, even with supervision, would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children.
Retain the Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C.
Our child custody lawyers in Folsom can help you resolve custody or visitation disputes and ensure that parenting plans and visitation schedules reflect your child’s best interests while protecting your rights. If you find yourself involved in a child custody dispute, it can help to work with a Folsom custody attorney who specializes in child welfare law. Attorney Tiffany L. Andrews and her team offer high-quality representation and maintain a focus on protecting your child’s well-being while keeping your best interests in mind. Ultimately, our goal is to reach a resolution that is favorable, fair, and safe for your child.
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2015 Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of CA, Board of Legal Specialization
2011 Certified Welfare Law Specialist by NACC, Accredited by the CA State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
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