Helping Families Navigate The Difficult Road Of Divorce

Understanding Orange County’s Child Custody And Visitation Laws

There are two types of custody divorcing or separating parents will need to address when creating their parenting plan for their children. The court looks to parenting responsibilities in terms of legal custody and physical custody. When both parents are willing and able to make decisions in their children’s best interests, they may request that the court grant them joint legal custody of their child or children. With joint legal custody, parents share the rights and responsibilities to make health care, education and other decisions for their children. Physical custody pertains to where the children will primarily reside. If it is in the best interests of the child, the court may grant joint legal custody to parents and sole physical custody to one parent.

What Is Legal Custody?

The court uses the term “legal custody” when referring to parents’ responsibilities and rights for making vital decisions such as where the child will receive medical attention, what school they will attend, what type of spiritual upbringing they wish their child to experience and other matters relating to the child’s well-being. “Joint legal custody” means that both parents will participate equally in these types of decisions. If it is in the best interest of the child, the court may grant this responsibility to only one parent in a “sole legal custody” arrangement.

What Is Physical Custody?

Similar to legal custody, there are two types of physical custody: joint physical custody and sole physical custody. The court refers to “physical custody” when addressing where the children will live with their parents. In joint physical custody arrangements, the child or children will live with each parent about half the time and have ongoing, regular contact with both parents.

Custody arrangements can be uniquely arranged, but always in the best interests of the children. Sometimes the court orders one primary home for the child and one parent as the child’s primary caretaker. When the court finds that the child is better served by living with just one parent, it may order sole physical custody to one parent and reasonable rights of visitation to the other parent.

Determining What Is In The Best Interest Of Your Child

Separating or divorcing parents frequently have a difficult time determining what is best for their child. Working with an experienced family law attorney can facilitate the process and help parents minimize the adverse effects on children. I am Hogan W. Song, an experienced family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, who knows the struggle children go through when parents divorce. Raised by a single mother, I am passionate about assisting my clients create parenting plans that will nurture their family’s relationships and help their children thrive.

Get Experienced Assistance With Creating Your Visitation And Parenting Schedules

Visitation, parenting time and custodial time are different terms for a simple concept often misunderstood. It is simply the time children are under the care of their parents. It is referred to as custodial time, parenting time, parenting schedule, among others. The court provides general guidelines of percentages for parents to develop their parenting schedule, but it can be overwhelming to navigate without legal assistance. Call Song Family Law, APLC, or send me an email to schedule a consultation with me today. I have offices in Mission Viejo and Orange for your convenience.