One of the hardest and most gut-wrenching aspects of divorce is deciding where children will make their primary residence, and how much time children will spend with each parent. Both parents love and want to be with their children, but the law dictates that custody arrangements must be made. When making these decisions it is in the best interests of the child to have a qualified family law attorney on your side to ensure your rights and access to your children are protected.
Putting Children First
At Heath-Newton we believe the interests of the children should be first and foremost in any divorce situation, and we approach every case from this standpoint. We are not interested in prolonging the custody process through litigation or squabbling, and work hard to come to mutual agreement about child custody.
Our ultimate goal is to create a child custody agreement where each parent has fair and equitable access to their children, and input into their upbringing. Fortunately, child custody in San Francisco does not favor one parent over the other. Mothers and fathers have equal rights to their children under California law, which levels the playing field for both parents, and allows for the most equitable custody arrangements possible.
How Do Courts Decide Who Gets Custody Of The Children In A Divorce?
Child custody is used to determine legal and practical responsibility for children after a divorce, including how parents will make decisions for the children and how they will care for the children. Custody is based on many factors, including who currently takes care of the children and makes decisions affecting them, and the amount of time each parent currently spends with the children. However, determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, none of which is the most important.
When parents cannot agree on the custody of their children, the courts look to the “best interests” of the children. 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.
Child custody cases can be extremely emotional and litigious, which is why the family law attorneys at Heath-Newton keep the best interests of the children as the guiding goal in any divorce or custody case. Every recommendation we make has the child’s best interests at heart.
Under 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. Legal custody may be awarded to both parents (joint custody) or to a single parent (sole custody). 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.
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 to both of the parents in a divorce. If a parent has physical custody of the child, he or she will handle the day-to-day care of the child, and determine where the child will live.
What Does Sole vs. Joint Custody Mean?
Joint physical custody means both parents share time with their children, and the children may live with both parents. Joint custody arrangements are flexible and varied. Some parents see their children only on holidays, and others split time equally with the other parent. In all joint custody situations parents share the actual lodging and care of the children according to a court-ordered custody schedule or plan.
Sole physical custody means the children live with only one parent, the “custodial parent”. The courts then usually award visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. That parent handles the day-to-day care of the children, and has the right to decide where the child will live.
How Do I Get Help With Child Custody In San Francisco, Or Find A California Child Custody Attorney?
The family law attorneys at Heath-Newton have tens of thousands of hours of experience with child custody cases. Our goal is to guide parents through the child custody process so that they can make the best decisions possible for their children. What we care about more than anything is making sure that parents are putting their children first when it comes to divorce and child custody situations. That may even include targeted negotiations and precision litigation in an effort to minimize stress on the children. We strive to develop mutually beneficial solutions to complex and emotionally-charged situations.
Contact a California child custody attorney or family law lawyer at Heath-Newton LLP at (415) 398-1290. Our attorneys will help you understand the child custody laws and support guidelines, so that you can resolve these sensitive family issues with minimal stress on both parents and children.