California Child Custody and Visitation issues – General Information

Kimberly R. Cammack

Child custody issues in California family law can result by way of the initiation of dissolution of marriage proceedings (divorce), legal separation, annulment, or paternity proceedings. Child custody issues can arise even if the parties are not legally separated, but living apart.

There are several classifications of child custody in the state of California such as; Sole legal and physical custody, primary physical and legal custody, joint physical and legal custody, and no right to custody.

With respect to marriages, the father or the mother are equally entitled to custody of the minor children of the marriage, before a court ordered is entered. If you are contemplating a divorce, filing for divorce, legal separation, or living apart, it is very important to obtain court orders which articulate your rights to child custody as soon as possible. Without court orders, a child who is let’s say is living with the mother (or father) could be legally taken by the other parent absent court orders. If you have minor children of the marriage, it is important to file an order to show cause for child custody along with any petition for dissolution of marriage, or legal separation paperwork, so that you can get a court order articulates your rights to child custody.

The court primarily focuses on what’s in the child’s best interests when it determines who is entitled to what type of custody of a minor child of the marriage. Although it sounds simple, child custody and visitation issues with respect to California law are quite complicated, and should not be litigated without the help of an experienced attorney.
In the old days it was thought that children should be with their mother. However, modernly the court looks at many factors in determining who gets what type of custody of minor children. If you are a mother, you should not assume that you will automatically get custody of the children. If you’re a father, you have an equal chance of getting primary custody of the children.

Entire law books have been written on the subject of child custody.

If you have a child custody issues in Southern California and want a free consultation on your case, give our law firm a call at 818-739-1544 extension 10 or you can click here to go to our family law website.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2006

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