Five Things To Know About Child Custody

Many people have questions or misconceptions about the "norms" of child custody. Here are five things you should know when it comes to resolving issues surrounding your children.

1. If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, a family court judge will determine one for you

Judges will generally agree with a plan that parents come up with on their own. But if parents cannot come to an agreement regarding their children, the court will make a decision based on:

  • The child's age
  • Any health issues
  • Emotional relationship between the child and parents
  • Family history of substance abuse or violence, if applicable
  • What ties the child has to their home or school

2. When it comes to visitation, "more is more"

It is usually in the best interest of a child to spend time with both of their parents. When creating a parenting plan, try to see your children as much as possible — even if dealing with your ex is difficult.

3. Cooperating with the other parent always leads to better results

If you can find a way to work together, you are more likely to have an arrangement that works for both of you. Otherwise, a court will have to do it for you.

4. Getting sole custody of your child is often harder than you'd think

What many people call "sole custody" is actually a combination of two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody is a parent's right to make important decisions on behalf of the child, such as where they go to school or what medical care they receive. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. It is not unusual for a judge to give physical custody to one parent, while granting joint legal custody.

5. Custody does not automatically go to one parent over the other

Regardless of how old the children are, courts do not automatically grant custody to the mother or vice versa. Courts consider what is in the best interest of the children and make custody decisions based on that determination.

Even if you were never married to the child's other parent, you have rights. A court cannot deny you custody or visitation based on your lifestyle, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or a physical disability.

Contact The Firm To Learn More

If you have additional questions about child custody in California, it is best to speak to an attorney. Call the Law Office of Layla Summers in Culver City at 310-575-2513 to schedule an appointment with a compassionate family lawyer. You can also request an appointment via email.