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Some people who have a child together are unable to sustain their relationship and come to the difficult decision to end their romantic involvement and live apart. Thus, it becomes necessary to determine how to share custody of the child whom they parent together. While the parents both generally wish to divide custody in a manner that benefits the health and welfare of the child, they often disagree as to which custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Custody disputes can quickly become heated, and it may become necessary to take legal action to define each parent’s obligations and rights. The Colusa and Lake County child custody lawyers at Carrion Law Offices can assess the facts of your case and work with you to develop a plan to help you seek your desired outcome.
In cases in which the parents of a child are able to come to an agreement regarding how custody should be divided, they can draft a parenting plan. The plan should indicate each parent’s rights regarding time-sharing, or physical custody of the child, and decision-making, or legal custody. Each parent should have the agreement reviewed by an attorney to ensure that they are not waiving any rights. Once the agreement is complete, the parties must file the appropriate court documents and sign a stipulation indicating that they entered into the agreement knowingly and voluntarily. The plan will ultimately be submitted to a judge for review. In most cases, the judge will approve the plan if he or she finds that it is in the best interest of the child involved. A child custody attorney in Colusa or Lake County can help you devise an appropriate plan.
Under California law, custody is comprised of legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions for a child, such as where the child will attend school, which medical providers will provide treatment to the child, and which religious practices, if any, the child will observe. A parent with legal custody also has the right to determine where the child will reside, and whether the child will participate in any extracurricular activities. Physical custody, on the other hand, is a parent’s right to have a child reside with him or her.
Legal custody may be joint, which means that each parent has a right to make decisions for the child, or one parent may be granted sole legal custody. When the parents share legal custody, they most likely will not agree on every decision, but they should communicate and attempt to come to a mutual agreement to avoid the need for further intervention from the courts. Physical custody may be joint as well, which means that the child will live with both parents, but in some cases, a court will grant one parent sole physical custody. When the parents are granted joint physical custody, it does not necessarily mean that custody is divided equally. Instead, one parent may be granted more time with the child, while the other parent has limited visitation. Our Colusa and Lake County child custody attorneys can help you pursue the arrangement that best meets your child’s needs. In cases in which physical custody is not granted equally to each parent, the parent who spends more time with the child is often called the primary custodial parent.
Courts have the discretion to award any division of legal and physical custody that they deem to be in the best interest of the child. Factors assessed in determining what is in a child’s best interest include the health of the child and the parents, each parent’s resources and ability to provide for the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, and whether there are any siblings in either household.
If you need assistance with a custody matter, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your options for protecting your rights. At Carrion Law Offices, we assist parents in Colusa, Lake, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. We have an office in Colusa, where you can reach us at (530) 458-2950, and an office in Lakeport, where you can reach us at (707) 995-7006. You can contact us at either office or via the online form to set up a confidential and free meeting with a child custody lawyer in Colusa or Lake County.