California Family Code 3006
California Family Code 3006 states sole legal custody means that one parent shall have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
But does the Family Code mean every decision relating to health, education and welfare?
Fortunately, the answer is no and the court can actually award joint legal custody on some issues and sole legal custody on others.
For example, let us assume both parents are good parents but they live hundreds of miles apart from each other and one parent is the primary custodial parent. In such a situation, it makes sense to have joint legal custody on many issues. But perhaps it also makes sense to make the custodial parent the tiebreaker on other issues.
One example of the “other” issue may be where the child attends school. Does it make more sense for the parent who has the child 90% of the time to have the final decision-making authority on that issue? Of course, the answer to that question depends on the facts and family law is fact intensive so no two cases are really identical.
Sole Legal Custody And Special Needs Children
Another common situation is when one parent has been actively involved in the children’s special needs and specifically issues related to their therapy, counseling or medical care. That is not to say the other parent was completely uninvolved but the other parent may be minimally involved for whatever reason. We see the situation commonly when the children’s special needs are more serious, more intensive and therefore handled more significantly by the stay-at-home parent.
In the above situation, it may make sense for the parent who has significantly more knowledge on these issues to be the tiebreaker if the parents cannot agree on the therapy, counseling or medical care for the special needs child or children. That is not to say the parents should not communicate and attempt to coparent on the issues. To the contrary, we like orders that require the parents to do so. However, if appropriate, the parents’ disagreement does not have to mean the child cannot receive his or her appropriate therapy, counseling or medical care. The parent more equipped to make those decisions consistent with the child’s best interest can make the final call.
I’m sure you can think of other examples where it may be reasonable to ask for sole legal custody on some issues and joint legal on others.
Show Responsibility And Engagement
While you cannot change any of your behaviors from the past, you can start right now to begin positioning yourself as a responsible and engaged parent. Ideally, you want to do this long before your child custody case so that you can show a positive pattern of behavior. You may still be struggling with feelings of anger, betrayal, and bewilderment after separating or divorcing your partner. It is important to work through these emotions, , but you must also be able to set aside your own struggles to be a good parent for your children, especially now!
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How To Get A Custody And Visitation Court Order
There are multiple ways to get a custody and visitation order including:
- Parents writing up their own custody and visitation agreement. This can be started by filling out two forms: Stipulation and Order for Custody and/or Visitation of Children AND Child Custody and Visitation Order Attachment .
- OR partaking in custody mediation
However, if you seek sole custody of a child, you and the other parent will most likely have to meet with the judge. From there the judge will then decide your custody and visitation schedule, typically only granting sole custody under the circumstances laid out previously. In some cases, judges may appoint child custody evaluators to conduct a custody evaluation. Parents may also request an evaluation, but that may not be granted.
California Child Custody Laws
By Lina Guillen, Attorney
In California, there are two types of custody: “legal” and “physical.” Parents are encouraged to share both types of custody whenever possible. Joint custody means sharing either legal custody, or physical custody, or both. If you agree to share custody, California law requires the judge to presume that joint custody is in the child’s best interest.
If divorcing parents can’t agree on custody issues, they’ll end up in court, where a judge will make custody decisions based on the “child’s best interests.”
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Determining The Childs Best Interest
In California, the main factor that drives child custody decisions is the childs best interest. A great deal of discretion is used in California courts to determine child custody decisions. A judge must consider a variety of factors when deciding the childs best interest, including the following:
- Childs desires, given the child, has reached a certain age and maturity
- Parental emotional and mental stability
- Parental criminal history
Custodial Parent And Noncustodial Parent
California courts can order sole physical custody and sole legal custody, or sole physical custody with shared legal custody. A parent with sole physical custody has a right to collect child support from a child’s noncustodial parent, regardless of whether they still share legal custody. The noncustodial parent still maintains the right to communicate with the child on a frequent basis as a result of his court-approved visitation. The noncustodial parent can lose these parental rights in certain situations, for example, due to a prolonged absence from the child’s life or child abuse.
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How To Lose Custody Of A Child In Ca
There are a few missteps parents in a child custody case can make that severely threaten their chances of winning custody of their child. Here is a brief overview of some fatal errors that may cause a father or mother to lose custody of their child:
- Misuse alcohol or drugs. Dont misuse alcohol or drugs, especially when your child is present. Aside from providing more ammunition for the other parent, making poor choices ends up hurting your child in the process. Alcohol and drug use and abuse is just something else that can be documented and used against you. Make sure there is not even the suggestion that you are doing something that would put your child at risk. Being a good parent involves making good choices that protect your childs overall wellbeing. Plus, the family court can order drug and alcohol testing if your co-parent presents a credible argument that you are putting the child at risk with your substance use.
How To Get Full Child Custody In California
As a parent, you want whats best for your child. And in the middle of a child custody battle, having full custody of your child may feel like the best thing for your little one. However, the courts dont always agree. Getting a divorce with children is always hard as child custody concerns can be hotly debated and contested. California law places a special emphasis on the best interest of the child standard. This means family law courts will seek to award equal child sharing time between both parents whenever possible.
However, in some situations, the court might agree its better for the child to have just one parent with full custody. If you are seeking full custody of your children, you need to be aware of how these type of cases are typically handled in California family law courts.
If you are involved in a California divorce, you might want information of how to get full custody of the children. However, you first need to make sure that you know what full custody in California means.
Full custody is often a term parents use when referring to the legal term of sole custody, but this comes in different forms. There is sole legal custody and sole physical custody, which are actually quite different. Legal custody refers to decision making powers related to the child, such as where they attend school, healthcare, and other related issues. Physical custody refers to where the child actually lives.
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Request An Initial Case Evaluation With North County Ca Divorce Lawyer Richard M Renkin
If you would like more information about seeking full custody during your divorce, please contact us to schedule an initial case evaluation. To request an appointment with North County, CA divorce lawyer and Certified Family Law Specialist Richard M. Renkin, call 619-299-7100 or inquire online today.
Preparing For Your California Custody Case
As your custody hearing grows near, youll need to work closely with your divorce attorney to put your best case forward. Hopefully, youve been following the previous tips and already have a strong foundation to work with!
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Vet Your Contact List
Dont let anyone around your kids who may be seen as dangerous by the courts. This may include those with felony or sex offenses, those who use drugs, and drug dealers.
Even close family members who may have done time for drugs, violence or sexual-related offenses in the past should be avoided while your sole-custody re-evaluation is ongoing. This is the case even if their crimes occurred decades ago.
If you have a new partner, its best to avoid allowing that person to stay in your home right after youve separated from your spouse, as doing so could upset your kids.
On the other hand, if youve been separated for some time, such as six months or more, its far more reasonable to introduce your kids to your new long-term partner.
You will also want to avoid inappropriate gatherings and vet all babysitters extremely carefully. Even if a friend from college wants to sleep on your couch for a night, youll want to seriously consider the ramifications if that person is found to have a criminal past or uses drugs and/or alcohol frequently.
At the same time, avoid going to bars, rock concerts, and R-rated movies while you have your children. Instead, be sure to explore any adult interests when the children arent around.
Determining Child Custody In California
Children are affected in endless ways during their parents divorce. This includes child custody, meaning the parents rights or obligations to make decisions about a childs upbringing. In California, a variety of factors contribute to deciding child custody. These factors may include:
- Childs best interests
- Childs desires, given the child has reached a certain age and maturity
- Record of domestic violence
- Record of drug use
- Parents emotional and mental stability
Children have the right to have time with both parents, only if they are supervised and cared for in the proper manner. Various parts of your childs upbringing must be decided upon during the divorce process. Child custody falls into two general categories: legal custody and physical custody.
The court will be looking at several circumstances and the family involved. Although both parents have equal rights to see and take care of their child, the court must uphold the law and ensure that the child is placed in the best home possible even if that means the child would be living and seeing just one parent. In most circumstances, this would not be the case. The court would look at each parent, their respective jobs, how they would raise the children, and the type of home they came from. If a father had raped a mother and thats how the child was conceived, the father would likely not be able to see the child.
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Sole Physical Custody With Sole Legal Custody
A parent with sole physical custody and sole legal custody holds exclusive rights to physically take care of the child and to legally make critical decisions that effect the child’s safety, health and welfare. The court must consider the best interest of the child before it awards sole physical custody or sole legal custody to one parent. Once the court awards sole physical custody to one parent, that parent has the right to control the physical care of the child without the need to consult the other parent. Once sole legal custody is ordered to one parent, that parent also has the right to make all other decisions over the child’s life, without the other parent’s approval.
What Are California Judicial Forms
Judicial Council of California Forms. Judicial Council of California forms are available as Adobe Acrobat documents that can be printed on any computer. Forms are organized by category in a pull down format. Individual forms may be completed electronically online or they may be printed and completed manually.
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Can I Change The State Where The Case Is Being Heard
If you move to another state, you may be able to change the state where the custody case is being heard. You will have to file a motion in court to ask the judge who is hearing the case to change the state where your case is being heard . The judge may do so if the child and both parents no longer live in CA or if the child and one parent no longer live in CA and substantial evidence is no longer available in CA concerning the childs care, protection, training, and personal relationships.1
This is often complicated and, as with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. To find a lawyer in your area please visit the page.
Can Grandparents Get Visitation
Sometimes. Whether or not the parents of the child are , the grandparent will have to prove that s/he has such a close relationship and bond with the grandchild that visitation would be in the best interest of the child. However, if both parents agree that the grandparent should not be granted visitation rights, or if the one parent who the child lives with does not want the grandparent to have visitation, the judge will assume that the visitation of a grandparent is NOT in the best interest of the child. It is then up to the grandparent to try to change the judges mind and prove that the visitation IS in the childs best interests.
However, if the parents are , there are additional restrictions that the grandparent has to follow. The grandparent can file for visitation only if one or more of the following circumstances exist:
1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3104 -, –
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The Unfair History Of Child Custody
Despite being a legal issue, the history of child custody in American law has been anything but fair. In earlier times, children were considered the property of a man, and they belonged to him after a divorce. This system was eventually abandoned in favor of one that was equally unfair. After recognizing that children were not property, the law created sexist assumptions about which parent was better suited to care for young children.
This tender years doctrine created a legal presumption that mothers were better suited to the care of young children, and should, therefore, be awarded custody in a divorce. After too many years of these unjust assumptions, the law eventually recognized the need to account for each individual childs needs during a custody dispute.
This doctrine became formalized in 1966 when the Supreme Court of Iowa used a best interest of the child standard to decide custody of a six-year-old boy. With a simple statement that would shape the next generation of child custody jurisprudence, the Court held: We have considered all of factors and have concluded that Marks best interest demands that his custody remain with the Bannisters.