Child Custody & Visitation
In cases where minor children are involved (under the age of 18), it is necessary to obtain orders for child custody and visitation.
Child custody is divided into two areas, legal custody and physical custody.
In a vast majority of the cases, the parties are awarded joint legal custody of the minor children. Legal custody refers to your right as a parent and not to the amount of time that the children will be in your physical custody. Joint legal custody means that both parents shall share the right and responsibility to make decisions pertaining to the minor child’s health, education and welfare. Some aspects of joint legal custody include:
1. The right to your child’s medical and school records;
2. The right to be informed and participate in your child’s school and extracurricular activities; and
3. The right to be informed prior to the other party attempting to move the residence
of the minor child.
Though there are several other aspects of joint legal custody, these are the most recognized.
Physical custody refers to the amount of time that the minor child will be in the physical custody of either parent. It is typically on the issue of physical custody that there is any litigation.
Under California law, the court must make a physical custody order that is in the “best interest” of the minor children. It is always best for the parties to work out their own physical custody arrangements. However, due to a variety of issues, it sometimes is not realistic that an agreement can be reached. In these cases, Castle & Monarch takes the appropriate steps to prepare all witnesses and evidence necessary to address the issues in a physical custody dispute and to obtain a physical custody order that is in the best interest of the minor child(ren).
Even after an initial Judgment for physical custody is entered, the court retains jurisdiction to modify the order based upon various changes and circumstances, including but not limited to:
1. The age and desires of the child;
2. Subsequent events that adversely affect the child;
3. One of the parties moves a substantial distance from their prior residence; and
4. The parties can, of course, agree to modify the original order based upon their