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Child custody basics in California

When people are faced with issues related to child custody, there is a good chance that they have never had to deal with these matters before. Understandably, the process can seem overwhelming, intimidating and unfair for some people.

To alleviate some of the confusion and fear about this process, we will explain some basic aspects of child custody laws and procedures in California in this post.

Two types of custody

There are two types of custody in California: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where a child will live. Legal custody refers to a parent's authority to make important decisions on behalf of a child. 

In most cases, parents will share one or both types of custody, as this is often the arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. In cases where both parents have legal custody but only one parent has physical custody, the parent without physical custody will have visitation rights.

Finding solutions outside of court

Most people will not have to go to court to resolve custody issues. Especially in the context of divorce, parents are often able (or required) to work out a custody arrangement themselves in mediation. If they cannot come to an agreement, then the case will go in front of a judge.

Creating a parenting plan

When parents share custody, they will have a parenting plan to set rules and establish rights. The parenting plan will include information on custody schedules, methods for resolving disputes and any other details parents find it helpful to include in this legal document.

When modifications are necessary

Parents can expect custody and visitation orders to be in place for about two or three years. As time goes by and when people and circumstances change, it can be prudent or necessary to change the existing order. Under these circumstances, parents can petition the courts for a modification.

Hopefully, this gives readers some basic information on what to expect from the child custody process in this state. Understand, though, that these are just the broad strokes of child custody and visitation. Every case is different and should be handled on an individual basis with the help of an experienced attorney.

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Evans Family Law
5150 E Pacific Coast Hwy
STE 200
Long Beach, CA 90804-3399

Phone: 562-666-2692
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