In California, the state uses terms involving legal custody, physical custody and visitation. When parents are unable to agree on who will have custody of the child, the court may intervene and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Determining what the best interests of the child are can vary depending on child custody laws of the state.Read more about Los Angeles child custody laws.
Before parents can address the issues of child custody and visitation of their minor children, there must be a formally filed underlying action in the California family law court This means a petition for divorce or paternity (unmarried) can be filed by your family law attorney.
If the parents are married, either the mother’s or the father’s family law attorney can file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or nullity or file the petition for custody and support of minor children’s action. If the parents are unmarried, either the mothers’ or the fathers’ family law lawyer can file an action to establish the parental relationship or file the petition for custody and support of minor children. This is typically accomplished by having an experienced family law laywer file an Order to Show Cause. This process allows for temporary orders to be granted before a trial or judgment.You can also file an Order to Show Cause post judgment.
There is sole custody in two regards – sole legal custody and sole physical custody. A judge will grant custody or visitation rights after considering everything involved; including the child’s health, safety and welfare, as well as any history of abuse by one parent. Sole legal custody means one parent has the right to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the children. Sole physical custody means the child lives with one parent and the other parent has visitation. Read more about sole custody in California.
When parents divorce, most experts believe the best solution for the children is for the parents to reach an agreement on who will take care of what parenting responsibilities. However, some parents are unable to agree on custody or visitation and a judge will make the decision for them. Learn more about joint legal custody for Los Angeles County.