Child Custody

Helping protect the best interests of your children

Child Custody Lawyers Santa Rosa, CA | Sonoma County

Legal & Physical Child Custody

There are two parts to child custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody means that you are responsible for making decisions about important things in a child’s life, such as where the child goes to school, religious instruction, and when the child is to be seen by a doctor. Legal custody can be shared by both parents, which is referred to as joint legal custody.

In California, joint legal custody is the norm and simply means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make the decisions relating to the education, health and welfare of the child.

However, if one parent lives far away, is abusive or neglectful, or isn’t involved in the child’s day-to-day life and doesn’t spend time with the child, a judge may grant sole legal custody to one parent.

Physical custody refers to the time that the child is in the physical care and supervision of a given parent. When a child resides with and is under the supervision of one parent, subject to the court’s power to order visitation to the non-custodial parent, that is referred to as sole physical custody.

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Can Child Custody Be Modified After Divorce?

Yes. Changing circumstances, for better or for worse, can affect a parent’s child custody arrangement.

The types of changes that can impact a child custody arrangement include:

  • Financial needs of the children
  • Actual time a parent spends with children
  • Financial condition and circumstances of either parent

Any or all of the above can provide the opportunity to modify child custody. This can be done by filing a request with the court or the parents can enter into an agreement that may ultimately be put into writing, filed with the court, and signed by a judge.
 

Sole Custody & Visitation Rights

Under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate for one parent to have sole physical custody of the child and the other parent to have visitation rights.

Visitation is then typically granted on a regular basis, like every other weekend or some regular reoccurring period of time.

In certain types of extreme situations–for example, a parent deemed to have committed acts of domestic violence–the court may award sole legal and physical custody of the child to one parent with supervised visitation for an hour or more a week with the abusive parent.
 

Concerned About Child Custody? We Can Help.

Every child custody situation is unique. At Vonder Haar Law, we listen to your concerns and priorities when representing you in a child custody dispute and in fashioning a child custody agreement.

We will explain your options and rights that address your concerns to give you a clear course of action and peace of mind. Having an experienced and reliable attorney is an important part of crafting a successful child custody agreement. We welcome inquiries and look forward to speaking with you.

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