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Understanding Child Custody Laws

Child in Between Parents

Understanding child custody laws can be overwhelming and confusing, especially during a stressful time like a divorce or separation. At Embry Family Law P.C., we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of California child custody laws. In this blog post, we will provide you with tangible and useful tips for some of the most common child custody issues our clients face.

1. Types of Child Custody in California

In California, there are two main types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility of making decisions about a child's health, education, and general welfare. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the actual living arrangements of the child. Both legal and physical custody can be awarded jointly, meaning both parents share the responsibility, or solely, meaning only one parent has the responsibility.

2. Factors Considered in Determining Child Custody

When determining child custody, California courts consider the best interests of the child. Some factors that may be considered include:

  • The age and health of the child
  • The emotional bond between the child and each parent
  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse
  • The child's preference, if old enough to express a preference

3. Creating a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan, also known as a custody and visitation agreement, is a crucial part of any child custody arrangement. A well-thought-out parenting plan can help reduce conflicts and ensure that both parents are actively involved in their child's life. Some elements to consider when creating a parenting plan include:

  • A regular visitation schedule, including weekends, holidays, and school breaks
  • Transportation arrangements for visitation
  • How decisions about the child's education, health care, and extracurricular activities will be made
  • How future changes to the parenting plan will be handled

4. Modifying a Child Custody Order

As children grow and circumstances change, it may be necessary to modify an existing child custody order. To request a modification, you must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was made. Some examples of significant changes include:

  • A change in the child's needs or the parents' ability to meet those needs
  • A parent's relocation
  • A change in the child's preference, if the child is now old enough to express a preference
  • Any other factor that affects the best interests of the child

5. Enforcing a Child Custody Order

If one parent is not following the terms of a child custody order, it may be necessary to take legal action to enforce the order. In California, you can file a Request for Order with the court to address the issue. It's essential to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your rights and your child's best interests are protected.

Embry Family Law P.C. Is Here for You 

At Embry Family Law P.C., we understand that navigating the complexities of child custody laws can be challenging. Our experienced and compassionate team is here to help you every step of the way. If you need assistance with understanding child custody laws, creating a parenting plan, modifying an existing child custody order, or enforcing a child custody order, contact us today for a consultation.

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