Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

As a parent, you want your child to be raised in the best possible way. Unfortunately, sometimes the other parent may not prioritize your child’s safety and well-being, or they may not agree with you about what is the child’s best interests.

If the other parent is not putting your child’s best interests first, an experienced Simi Valley child custody lawyer could help your case. A local compassionate family law attorney could focus on the legal process so you can focus on your family.

Different Types of Custody in Simi Valley

Child custody refers to which parent a child resides with and which parent will make important decisions regarding the child’s welfare.

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right and responsibility to make major decisions for their child. These decisions include health, education, religious training, and any other significant issue that affects a child’s overall well-being.

When determining legal custody, a judge typically assumes that awarding parents joint legal custody is in the child’s best interest, absent evidence of otherwise. This arrangement requires parents to reach agreements regarding their child’s care. If parents cannot communicate effectively, a court may grant one parent sole legal custody, allowing them to make the final decisions for their child.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is where a child lives on a day-to-day basis. If the child spends most of their time with one parent, that parent has primary or sole physical custody. In a joint or ‘shared’ physical custody arrangement, both parents share roughly equal time with their child.

Split Custody

A judge may also split these two types of custody if doing so would be best for the child. For example, parents might be granted joint physical custody, but one parent may retain sole legal custody for decision-making. This type of arrangement might be appropriate when a child thrives in both parents’ care, but the parents are not willing or able to make joint decisions.

Every family is different, and a custody arrangement that works for one family might not work for another. Discussing child custody with a seasoned attorney in Simi Valley is an excellent first step for a parent facing a custody dispute.

Conditional Preference for Both Parents’ Involvement in their Child’s Life

When determining the appropriate custodial arrangement, courts in California strive to ensure that a child has frequent contact with both parents. As long as both parents are fit to raise their child, judges prefer to grant a custody arrangement that allows them to play a significant role in their child’s life after a divorce.

Under state law, however, the guiding principle for judges deciding child custody is what arrangement will be in that child’s best interests, and there are circumstances in which joint or shared custody arrangements would not serve a child’s best interests. Courts have broad discretion when determining a child’s best interests, but certain factors can influence their decisions.

According to California Family Code §3011, some of these factors include:

  • The child’s health, safety, and welfare
  • How much time the child has traditionally spent with each parent
  • The distance between both parents’ homes
  • The child’s preference if they are mature enough to express it

In addition to these factors, a judge may consider any other information they deem relevant to a family’s custody decision. For example, if either parent has a history of family violence or substance abuse, a judge may award sole physical custody to the non-offending parent to protect the child’s safety and well-being. A competent attorney could help determine what evidence should be presented to the court in a custody dispute in Simi Valley.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney in Simi Valley for More Information

Child custody disputes can be emotionally and financially challenging for everyone involved. Parents may have very different ideas regarding what is best for their child, and reaching a compromise on custody can seem impossible.

During what may be one of the most stressful times in your life, a capable Simi Valley child custody lawyer could help you make informed decisions. Compassionate attorneys appreciate the often-contentious nature of child custody disputes and could help you work toward a civil resolution. Call today to discuss the best options for your family.

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Hoffer Family Law Firm