One of the most emotional aspects of a divorce case is dealing with custody issues. Unfortunately, this is an area where most parents play with each other and do their best to deprive the other parents of their right to maintain the relationship with their child. Child custody has two parts, 1) physical custody and 2) legal custody. Custody can be granted to one parent alone or jointly. Sole custody means that the child lives primarily and under the supervision of one parent, subject to visitation by the other parent by order of the court. Family Code §3007. Joint custody, on the other hand, means that the child has frequent and ongoing contact with both parents. Family Code §3004. The court would specifically state the periods of time that the child will be under the supervision of each parent.
Statutory custody, on the other hand, addresses a parent’s right and responsibility to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare. Family Code §3006. Examples would be decisions about where the child should attend school, whether the child can travel to another jurisdiction or state, legal decisions affecting the child. In cases where the court orders joint custody, each parent alone can make decisions about the health, upbringing, and welfare of the child, unless the order specifies otherwise.
When deciding on custody, the court takes into account various factors that depend on the specific facts of the case. The court usually follows public policy to ensure and encourage the child’s frequent and continued contact with both parents after the divorce, unless it would not be in the child’s best interests to do so. Family code §3011. When the court tends to give one parent sole custody, the consideration boils down to which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continued contact with the noncustodial parent. Family Code §3040(a)(1). A major factor that would overturn the court decision is incidents or cases of child abuse and domestic violence. This can be on the part of a parent, a spouse of a parent, or another person with whom a parent has a relationship. The amount and type of contact the child has with the parents is another factor that is taken into account. Family Code §3011(c). Other factors that may be considered are the parent’s use of controlled substances, prior criminal convictions and registration as a sex offender, and the existence of a restraining order against a parent.
The Family Code requires that the parties go to mediation and attempt to reach an agreement on the custody issue before the court hears the disputed case. Family Code §3170(a). If the case is not resolved in mediation, it will be decided in court through a contested hearing. Sometimes the court will order a custody inquiry if it determines that it would be in the child’s best interests to do so. The court may also appoint legal counsel for minors if it considers that it would be in the child’s best interests to do so. Family Code §3150(a). The court retains ongoing jurisdiction over custody and maintenance issues until the child is 18 years old. This means that the arrangement is subject to change during this period if circumstances have changed.
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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to be legal advice. The article is only intended to provide general, not specific, legal information. This article is not intended to cover all issues related to the subject covered. The specific facts applicable to your matter may produce a different outcome than you expected. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the law offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, APLC. This article is not a solicitation.
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Attorney Kenneth Reyes is a certified specialist lawyer for family law. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family Law Division and the Immigration Law Division of the Los Angeles County Bar. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to practicing law. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, APLC. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Call (213) 388-1611 or email Kenneth@kenreyeslaw.com. Visit us at www.kenreyeslaw.com.
atty Kenneth Reyes
Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a certified specialist lawyer for family law. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family Law Division and the Immigration Law Division of the Los Angeles County Bar. He has extensive CPA experience prior to practicing law. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, PC are located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. (213) 388-1611 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at Kenreyeslaw.com .