Experienced Child Custody Firm Serving Grand Terrace, CA
Attorney Stacy Augustine is the founder of Augustine Law Corp. We provide excellent legal representation to Wildomar, CA residents. With over 30 five-star reviews across the internet on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and Yelp combined with a decade of legal experience, we are more than capable of helping you win your child custody battle. Get a free attorney consultation today by filling out our contact form.
Child Custody Overview
There are a lot of different terms used in family law which can be confusing. California law separates child custody into two distinct categories, which are legal custody and physical custody. The status quo of in child custody cases is changing rapidly. The days when it was presumed that a child's mother will be awarded sole custody are long gone. The courts are increasingly allowing joint 50/50 custody. The most important factor that the courts look at is what is in the best interest of the children.
Legal Custody & Physical Custody
Legal custody is the parent that the court designates the power to make decisions regarding the health, welfare, school, and religious affiliation of the minor child. Unless there is a good reason, the court generally gives joint legal custody among the parents. Legal custody is the foundation of parental rights. Without legal custody you will not be able to make decisions for your minor child which is critical to what it means to be a parent.
Physical custody relates to which parent the minor child will live with. Often times the court will award one parent will have sole legal custody and give visitation to the other parent. In the alternative, the court can award joint 50/50 physical custody of the minor child or children. This would mean that the minor child shares a primary residence among each parent.
Physical custody is the most prized order in child custody battles. This is what each parent is fighting to get. The court will calculated child support based on each parent's income and how much time each parent has with the minor child or children. There are serious consequences for losing physical custody which is why it is important to hire a child custody lawyer to fight on your behalf.
Child Visitation ( Parenting Time)
Visitation typically refers to time the minor child spends with the parent that does not have physical custody. However, California courts are increasingly using the term “parenting time” instead of “visitation.” This is partially because more causes are resulting in parents having joint physical custody.
Parentage & Paternity
In California, when a child is born during marriage, each spouse is presumed to be the parent. However, If the parents are not married when the child is born, then there is no legal recognition of parentage until parentage is established through court. If the parents are married and one wants to obtain custody orders, he or she must file for either a divorce or legal separation. If the parties are not married, a parent must file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. An alleged father may also challenge paternity within a certain time period if he believes that he is not the father of the child. There are no parental rights until parentage is established. However, parentage is often established through Child Support Court as parentage must be established before one can be ordered to pay child support. This means that a parent may keep a child away from the other if there are no court orders to enforce. When child custody orders are issued by family law court, they can be enforced by law enforcement, the power of contempt of court, and by the District Attorney's Office. This is why it is important to contact a child custody lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
Call us at (909) 672-7004 for a free consultation. You can also fill out our contact form and Attorney Stacy Augustine will respond as soon as possible.