The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Child Custody Laws in California
Child custody is one of the most emotional and complex issues that parents face during a divorce. It involves not only legal but also emotional, social, and financial considerations. If you're going through a divorce or separation and have children, it's important to understand California's child custody laws and how they apply to your situation. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process.
Types of Child Custody in California
There are two types of child custody in California: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and spends most of their time.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
Sole custody means that one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child. Joint custody means that both parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child. Joint legal custody is the most common arrangement in California. Joint physical custody is less common but can work if the parents live close to each other and can cooperate well.
Factors Considered by the Court
When determining child custody, the court considers several factors, including the child's age and health, the parents' ability to provide for the child's needs, the child's relationship with each parent, the child's preference (if they're old enough to express it), and any history of domestic violence or abuse.
The Role of Mediation
In California, parents are required to attend mediation before going to court for child custody. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parents reach an agreement on custody and visitation. Mediation can save time and money and is less stressful for the child than going to court.
How to Modify a Custody Order
If there's a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent moving to another state, a change in the child's needs, or a parent's inability to provide for the child, a custody order can be modified. However, the process is not easy and requires the help of an experienced family law attorney.
Feinberg & Waller, APC
Understanding child custody laws in California can be overwhelming, but it's crucial for the well-being of your child and your own peace of mind. Feinberg & Waller, APC, is a family law firm in Calabasas, CA, that specializes in child custody cases. Contact us for a consultation if you need help with your child custody case.