Child Custody And Visitation
The attorneys at our firm will provide you a detailed understanding of what you can expect throughout the divorce process. After carefully listening to your goals and understanding what you want to achieve coming out of this divorce, we will create an individualized plan of action. Together we always set forth realistic expectations of what you can achieve through the process and what must be done to accomplish this.
We provide guidance to parents to gain greater insight into the deeper side of the child's best interest. We encourage healthy options that will build toward the child's development and adjustment. We can also recommend therapist and other specialists to assist parents if so needed.
Child custody and visitation agreements are some of the most difficult to be addressed in the course of a divorce. At Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, LLP, we guide our clients through the process of deciding what is in the best interests of their children, yet allowing them sufficient time to parent their children and play an integral role in their lives. Child custody is one of the most complex areas of family law. The court system tends to favor joint legal custody. This gives both parents the opportunity to make important decisions about their children's education, medical treatment, religion, etc. We understand that this process is inevitably emotionally charged and may cause parents to lose focus on the larger goals of the negotiation. We are committed to keeping our clients calm and forward thinking throughout the process.
Determining children's physical custody can be less straightforward. Children often thrive from relationships with both of their parents. At the same time, each situation is unique and time-sharing arrangements need to consider the impact of the arrangements on children.
During the pendency of a marital action or at anytime thereafter, the California Family Code give the Court the power to make an order for the custody of a child during minority "that seems necessary or proper." [CA Fam Code§ 3022]. The court must be guided by several basic statutory principles.
Chief amongst policy considerations for the Court when a divorce proceeding involves children are the following:
- Safety & Welfare: The court's "primary concern" is to assure the child's health, safety and welfare. This codified policy is a companion to the Legislature's express finding and declaration that "the perpetration of child abuse or domestic violence in a household where a child resides is detrimental to the child." [CA Fam Code§ 3020(a) (emphasis added); see also CA Fam Code §3044]
- "Frequent and continuing contact" with both parents and shared parenting: Further, an appropriate custody/visitation award must take into account the codified policy "to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy" . . . except where the contact would not be in the child's best interest pursuant to CA Family Code § 3011 [CA Family Code §3020(b)].
Child Custody Scenarios
Joint Custody Orders
- Pure Joint Custody: Under a "pure" joint custody plan, neither parent has sole physical or legal custody; both have authority to control and supervise the child, and the child's physical presence is shared. [CA Fam Code§ 3002].
- Joint Legal Custody: Joint legal custody means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare. [CA Fam Code§ 3003].
Sole Custody Orders
- Exclusive custody ("legal" and "physical") to one parent: An exclusive custody order gives one parent primary physical control of the child, with the right to make decisions regarding the child's residence, health, education and welfare. The non-custodial parent has secondary visitation rights as ordered by the court [CA Fam Code§§ 3006 & 3007]
- Sole Physical Custody: A parent may be granted exclusive physical custody without exclusive legal custody. This means the child resides with and is supervised by one parent, subject to the other parent's visitation rights; but the custodial parent does not have sole decision-making power regarding other matters affecting the child. [CA Fam §Code 3007].
- Sole Legal Custody: Conversely, a parent may be awarded the exclusive right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the child's health, education and welfare; but unless exclusive physical custody is also granted, that parent does not have sole control over the child's residence and supervision. [CA Fam Code§ 3006].
According to Family Code Section 3011, the court looks among other factors it finds relevant, at the following when determining the best interest of a child.
- The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
- Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following:
- Any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary.
- The other parent.
- A parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship.
Some cases can be settled, but others must be litigated in court allowing a judge to make decisions effecting you, your family and the children. Either way, we are here for our clients. We draw upon our law firm's vast experience in counseling, negotiation, and advocacy to develop creative solutions for your family's future. Call us at 310-914-3222 from Los Angeles or 714-280-0601 from Orange County with your have questions or concerns about your kids. Office hours are 9:00 am-5:30 pm and voice mail is available 24/7. In the unlikely event that your telephone call is not personally answered, any message you leave will be responded to promptly. Some weekend and evening appointments are available on a limited basis.
We assist in long-range planning for the future of the children. Regardless whether the issues of child custody were resolved amicably between the attorneys and parents, or if the parties ended up fighting in court, the outcome of the custody decisions will have a log-lasting impact on the children for years to come. We help to provide a forward-thinking outlook to our clients to make the right decisions.