How do courts decide who gets custody of the children in a divorce?
When parents cannot agree on the custody of their children, the courts look to the “best interests” of the children. Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, none of which is the most important. California courts try to ensure frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The court has broad power to protect the welfare of children and keeps that goal in mind when making decisions.
In California child custody laws, what is the difference between legal and physical custody?
Legal custody means a parent has the right to make important decisions about his or her children. These important decisions include those affecting health, welfare and education.
Physical custody refers to the parent a child is living with at any given time. The courts can give both legal and physical custody to one or both of the parents in a divorce.
What does sole vs. joint custody mean?
In California child custody laws, joint legal custody means the parents share in the decision-making process about their children. Sole legal custody means that only one parent makes these decisions.
Joint physical custody means both parents share time with their children. Joint custody arrangements are flexible and varied. Some parents see their children only on holidays, and others split time equally with the other parent.
Sole physical custody means the children live with only one parent. The courts then usually award visitation rights to the non-custodial parent.
How is child support determined under California child support laws?
California child support laws provide “statutory” child support guidelines. This means the amount of child support a parent must pay is based on a formula set by California’s legislature. These formulas take into account several factors, such as the income of each parent, the amount of time each parent has with the child and the number of children involved.
The duty to support children extends to both parents and normally continues until the child reaches the age of 18, but it may be extended until age 19 in some cases.
How do I get help with child custody issues or find a California child support attorney?
Contact a California child support attorney or family law lawyer at Heath-Newton LLP. Our attorneys will help you understand the child custody laws and support guidelines, so you can resolve these sensitive family issues.