If you’re like most parents going through a divorce, your primary concern is for your children. Where will they live? Who will get to make the important decisions that affect their lives?
Many people in situations similar to yours find that it’s best to work with a Chino Hills child custody lawyer who understands how the California court system works and how our laws apply in specific situations.
There are two types of child custody in the state of California: physical and legal. Each carries different rights and responsibilities, but in many cases, parents share both types.
Physical custody refers to where your children live for most or all of the time. Often, parents share physical custody; if they don’t, kids live primarily with one parent while visiting the other.
In rare cases, physical custody is only awarded to one parent without awarding the other parent with visitation or parenting time.
Typically, physical custody and visitation are worked out in a custody agreement. Some families choose for children to live with one parent throughout the week, particularly when they’re in school, and alternate weekends and some weeknights with the other parent. However, every family’s situation is different, and what works for one family may not work for yours.
In many cases, parents share legal custody. Legal custody refers to the obligations and rights that each parent has to make important decisions for their children, including healthcare, religion and education.
Although child support orders are completely separate from child custody orders, the amount of time your children spend with each parent will have a direct impact on the amount of child support that changes hands. Generally, the parent with whom the children reside receives child support.
California has a very specific formula for determining child support. The formula is based on each parent’s income, the number of children the two parents share, and a number of other factors.
Your attorney will probably tell you that it’s best if you and your ex can decide an fair custody agreement on your own, without the judge’s intervention.
Although judges do their best to remain fair and impartial when determining custody, nobody knows your family as you do. You and your ex are best qualified to work out an arrangement that benefits your kids.
It can be extremely difficult to deal with your ex-spouse, particularly if he or she is combative. However, remember that your children love both of you – and it’s best if they are able to foster a healthy relationship with each of you, as well.
If you and your ex cannot reach an agreement on your own, the judge will be forced to make a decision for you. The judge’s primary concern will be the best interests of the child, regardless of what you and your ex-spouse want.
The courts must consider a number of factors to determine what’s right for your child or children, including:
In some cases, the judge will order a 730 Evaluation to help determine what is best for your child or children.
A 730 Evaluation is nothing to fear. Typically, no home visits are required. You, your ex-spouse and your child (four children) will visit the evaluator’s office, and you’ll all be interviewed separately.
If you are having a tough time working out the custody agreement with your ex-spouse, it may be a good idea to call a Chino Hills child custody lawyer for help.