June 3, 2013 By Paul Wallin

You have recently divorced your ex-spouse. Unfortunately, the two of you were unable to work out a mutual custody plan regarding your child(ren). Now, your ex-spouse wants primary legal and physical custody of the children, but you do not want to lose these rights. How will the family law court decide your child custody issue? If you are facing this stressful situation, you should contact the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today.

California Family Law Attorneys
A Wallin & Klarich Family Law Attorney can help you get your child custody matter resolved.

What are the types of child custody?

There are two types of child custody that a judge may grant:

Legal Custody

If you are granted legal custody, you will be responsible for making important decisions for your child. These decisions may include the following:

    • School or child care;
    • Participation in religious activities or institutions;
    • Mental health counseling or therapy needs;
    • Travel;
    • Primary residence; and
    • Vacation and extracurricular activities.

A judge may grant you sole legal custody or joint legal custody. If you are granted sole legal custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3006), you will have the exclusive right and responsibility to make important decisions for your child. If you are granted joint legal custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3003), you will share the right and responsibility to make these important decisions with the other parent.

Physical Custody

Physical custody specifies if the child will live with you or the other parent. There are two types of physical custody:

    • Sole or primary physical custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3007) means that your child will live with one parent most of the time and visit the other parent as arranged;
    • Joint physical custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3004) means that your child will live with both parents. This does not necessarily mean that your child will spend exactly half of the time with each parent.

How does the court determine child custody?

California Family Code section 3040 states that child custody should be granted “according to the best interests of the child.”

California Family Code section 3011 lists a number of factors that a court may consider in determining child custody, including:

    • Health, safety, and welfare of the child;
    • The age of your child;
    • Any history of abuse against you, your child, or anyone seeking custody of the child;
    • The nature and amount of contact with both parents;
    • The habitual or continual illegal use of a controlled substance or alcohol by you or the other parent; and
    • Your child’s desire to live with one parent or another (depending upon the child’s age).

Can I modify a child custody order?

You may petition a family law court to modify a child custody order if you can prove that there has been a “change in the circumstances” since the initial custody order was made. However, per California Family Code section 3040, the child custody order will not be modified unless it is in the best interests of the child. A court may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

    • Your ability or inability to spend time with, supervise, and care for your child;
    • Your income and financial situation;
    • Whether you or the other parent have provided for the child’s particular health needs;
    • Frequent changes of residence by you or the other parent; and
    • Scheduling conflicts with work or school.

Why you should retain the Law Offices of Wallin & Klarich

The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully assisting clients to obtain and modify child custody orders. At Wallin & Klarich, we approach every case with the belief that the person we are representing could be one of our own family members. We have seen firsthand how stressful child custody can be for our clients and their loved ones. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Recently, one of our experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorneys, Sheldon E. Lee, helped his client obtain primary legal and physical custody of her child. Mr. Lee’s aggressive representation allowed his client and her daughter to reside together in Texas. After extensive cross-examination of the family court services mediator, Mr. Lee demonstrated that the mother was an adequate and stable parent.

Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Ventura, Sherman Oaks, San Bernardino, Torrance, West Covina, and Victorville. Call us today at (888) 749-7428 to speak with an experienced child custody attorney. We will get through this together.

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