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California child custody and parenting time basics

Before getting too deeply involved in a custody dispute, California parents should understand some of the basics of child custody and visitation in California.
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    February 20, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- California child custody and parenting time basics

Child custody issues can be complex and contentious. Parents often disagree on the best way to share custody and end up needing a court order to settle the matter. Before getting too deeply involved in a custody dispute, California parents should understand some of the basics of child custody and visitation in California.

Types of custody in California

California law identifies two types of child custody:
-Legal: Legal custody is the right to make decisions about a child's upbringing, health, education and welfare. Legal custody can be joint, where both parents share decision-making authority, or sole with only one parent having such power.
-Physical: Physical custody designates with which parent a child lives. One parent can have sole physical custody, where the child predominantly lives with that "primary custodial parent," and the other parent has visitation time. Alternatively, parents can have joint physical custody, where the child splits his or her time roughly equally between both parents. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that a child spends exactly 50 percent of his or her time with each parent, as it is often difficult to plan schedules that divide time exactly evenly.

Types of visitation in California

Visitation, also called time share, is generally set up in one of three ways:
-Visitation schedules: In many cases, a parenting time order will outline a specific schedule for days and times each parent may spend with the child. Parenting plans usually detail which holidays the child spends with which parent and vacation time each parent has with the child. Such schedules can reduce conflict between parents because they are very specific.
-Reasonable visitation: In some cases the court orders reasonable visitation for a parent, where the parents are free to arrange a schedule between themselves. This usually only occurs when parents get along well with one another, as it can lead to conflicts if parents cannot work together.
-Supervised visitation: If there are questions about the safety of a child when with a parent, the court may order supervised visitation, where either the other parent, another adult, or a representative from a professional agency monitors the parent's time with the child.

Best interest of the child

When determining child custody matters, California courts are required to make decisions that serve the best interests of the child. California law outlines some of the factors that judges must consider when determining a child's best interest, including:
-The child's age,
-The child's health,
-The emotional ties between the child and each parent,
-Each parent's ability to care for the child,
-Whether there is a history of domestic or substance abuse in the family,
-The child's ties to home, school and the community.

Parents with child custody issues should not try to handle these matters alone. It is crucial to seek the assistance of an attorney to help navigate California law and the California family court system to help ensure the best outcome. If you have questions about child custody, speak with a seasoned California child custody attorney who can help you achieve a just resolution.

Article provided by Boyd & Associates APC
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