Kaspar & LUgay LLP Delivers Responsive Service and Tenacious Advocacy
A Santa Barbara law firm advocating for you and your family
Child custody is the most important issue arising out of divorce when children are a part of the family. It is critical that in the emotionally fraught and uncertain time in and around a divorce, you have a guiding hand to help you manage the other legal issues involved, especially those relating to your children. Physical custody, parenting plans, and rights of visitation are just some of the contentious decisions the court may make in a custody battle. You need a legal advocate that is fighting for your best interests every step of the way.
Having an experienced Santa Barbara custody lawyer as that advocate will allow you to focus on the emotional and financial well-being of your family. For example, the standard for all child custody determinations is what is in the best interests of the child. It should come as no surprise that this important phrase has different meanings for different people, so it is important that your lawyer can build your case with his knowledge of California law and his knowledge of your objectives.
At Kaspar & Lugay LLP in Santa Barbara, our child custody lawyers are focused on developing an intimate understanding of you and your goals. With a foundation of trust and understanding combined with family law expertise, our team of exceptional attorneys will secure the resolution you deserve through tenacious advocacy. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and the rights of your family. We are rapidly becoming known as a go-to firm for child custody, divorce, and related family law issues here in Santa Barbara, and we want to meet you to discuss your case.
We Want to Hear About Your CaseSchedule a consultation with Kaspar & Lugay LLPs divorce lawyers today. You can reach us by calling 805-719-7841 or submitting a confidential request online. We can conduct consultations via phone or at our State Street location in downtown Santa Barbara. Contact us online today to see how we can help.
How Child Custody Is Determined in California
Kaspar & Lugay LLP, Santa BarbaraChild custody and visitation determinations are made on the basis of what “the best interests of the child” are. Under California law, the court will make that determination based on the facts of the case. Despite some rumors to the contrary, the determination of custody is not biased towards the mother or the father. Similarly, custody cannot be denied to a parent because of things like religious beliefs, disabilities, or the sexual orientation of a parent. In other words, the process is entirely fair and based solely on the best interests of the child.
What determines the best interests of the child under California law?The court will consider the following factors when deciding what kind of custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child:
- Child’s age and health
- Emotional ties between the parents and child
- Ability of a parent to care for the child, physically, financially and emotionally
- Any history of violence or substance abuse on the part of the parents or others in the home
- Child’s tie to school, home, and community
- Participation of each parent in the child’s activities
- Time spent with the child by each parent
- The existence of negativity or fighting in the home
How to Get Custody of Your ChildThe answer to how to get custody of your child or children in California is by demonstrating to the court that the child’s best interests will be served by being in your legal and physical custody. There is a strong bias towards both parents having a substantial, healthy relationship with their children. At the same time, it may be that one parent, who is otherwise willing and able, cannot manage physical custody due to a busy work schedule. Is it a fair result for that parent or the children to not allow them to spend any time with that parent? Custody arrangements are seldom black and white, so let’s take a look at physical and legal custody arrangements.
Sole Legal CustodySole legal custody may be granted in a case where one parent is deemed unfit, or is absent from the child’s life. Since it is in the best interest of the child to have stability and consistency in how he or she is raised, the court may grant full decision-making authority to one parent.
Joint Legal CustodyCourts in California prefer custody arrangements in which both parents share decision-making responsibility over their child. This is what is known as joint legal custody. Under this arrangement, both parents have the authority to make important decisions regarding their child’s upbringing. Examples of these decisions include education, major medical care and religious affiliation.
Sole Physical CustodySole physical custody may be granted by the court in cases where one spouse is a danger to the child, such as when the spouse has been abusive or neglectful or has substance abuse issues. This does not mean the non-custodial spouse is not allowed to see his or her children, however. The judge in the case will issue an order on visitation that balances the factors involved to ensure the best interests of the child, including safety.[/
Joint Physical CustodyJoint physical custody means that the child splits time between the homes of each parent. The details are part of a parenting plan that is generally worked out between the mother and father and is approved by the court.
DO YOU FEAR FOR YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY?Kaspar & Lugay LLP Can Help with Emergency Custody Orders California courts prioritize children’s safety in all situations, but it can be difficult to know how to approach an emergency situation involving a parent who has lawful custody and/or visitation rights. Kaspar & Lugay LLP has attorneys who have extensive experience obtaining ex parte custody orders, protective orders, and modifications of custody and visitation orders based on evidence of:
- Physical or sexual abuse of the child
- Criminal activity, including illegal drug use, done in the presence of the child
- Knowledge of someone’s threat or plan to illegally leave California with a minor child
Child Custody FAQ
- Education or childcare
- Religious activities
- Psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy needs
- Health and medical choices including doctor, dentist, orthodontist, or other health professionals
- Sports, summer camp, vacation, or extracurricular activities
- Where to live
No. With joint legal custody both parents have the right to make decisions and either parent can make a decision alone. In order to avoid having problems and ending up back in court, both parents should communicate and cooperate in making decisions together.
California law gives special consideration to requests for visitation by grandparents when their son or daughter, the child’s parent, is deceased. Grandparents wanting visitation should first make every effort to reach an agreement for visitation with the parents of the children. If they can’t reach an agreement, grandparents can ask the court either by joining an existing case between the parents of the children, or by filing an independent request for visitation in court.
After a judge issues a custody/visitation order, one or both parents may want to change the order through what is called a modification to the child custody order. Usually, the judge will approve a new custody and visitation order that both parents agree to. If the parents can’t agree on a change, one parent may ask the court to approve the modification. Usually, that parent will have to ask for a court hearing and show that the proposed changes are in the best interest of the child and respect the rights of the other parent. Both parents will probably have to meet with a mediator to see if an agreement between them can be reached.
Parents can share custody, known as joint custody, or one parent alone can have custody, known as sole custody. Either joint or sole custody will be assigned for both legal and physical custody.
Time-share plan is another term for a visitation plan, while a parenting plan can be a visitation plan, but usually also includes a custody plan that explains who has legal and physical custody.
- The age of the child
- The health of the child
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child
- The ability of the parents to care for the child
- Any history of family violence and/or substance abuse
- The child’s ties to school, home, and his or her community
No. If there is joint physical custody, usually the children spend a little more time with one parent than the other because it’s too hard to split the time exactly in half. When one parent has the child more than half of the time, then that parent is sometimes called the “primary custodial parent.”