Child Custody in California | What You Need to Know

If you are a divorcing parent, you are most likely primarily concerned about being able to raise and care for your child. Please continue reading and speak with our knowledgeable California family law attorneys to learn more about child custody and how our firm can help you. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the different types of child custody in California?

There are two types of custody orders in California–physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody relates to which household the child spends most of his or her time. Of course, all parents want to live with their child, however, retaining legal custody of your child is perhaps most important, as having legal custody allows you to make key life decisions on your child’s behalf, such as the type of medical treatment your child can receive, the religion your child practices, where he or she can go to school, and more. In California, parents can retain sole or joint legal/physical custody of their children.

What is a visitation order?

If you are a parent who is not granted child custody, you will most likely still have the right to spend time with your children through a visitation order, as it is critical for a child to have contact with both parents, as long as they have their child’s best interests at heart. However, visitation orders often become more complex when grandparents are involved. Many children have very strong bonds with their grandparents and wish to see them frequently. Fortunately, in California, grandparents can submit a petition requesting visitation rights that the court must approve. Before approving, California courts will consider the following factors:

  • The bond between the child and his or her grandparents, and whether they had a strong bond before the grandparents requested visitation.
  • Whether the child’s parent expresses whether he or she believes the grandparent should have visits with the child.
  • Whether a continuing relationship with your child’s grandparents is in his or her best interests.

How do California courts decide on child custody?

When child custody comes into question, courts anywhere will have one main concern: the child’s well-being. However, that being said, California courts will analyze several aspects of you, your child, and your former spouse’s lives before reaching a decision. The California Family Code Section 2011 states that California courts shall examine and consider the following before determining your child custody terms:

  • Your child’s age.
  • Your child’s health.
  • The bond both you and your former spouse have with your child.
  • Whether you have the capacity to adequately care for your child, financially and otherwise.
  • Whether you or your former spouse has ever exposed your child to substance abuse issues or domestic violence.
  • The relationship your child has with your family, your spouse’s family, his or her school district, community, and more.

If you have any additional questions about child custody in California or the legal process ahead, please do not hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable California family law attorneys today to learn more about what we can do for you.


Contact our experienced Los Angeles firm

Divorce and family law issues are notoriously complicated and personal, which is why you must hire an attorney with years of experience, as well as the compassion and skill needed to handle these sensitive matters. For the qualified, dedicated legal representation you and your family deserve and need, contact Zitser Family Law Group, APC today.

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