Leon F. Bennett, Esq.
Los Angeles and Ventura County Child Custody Attorney
Our services in child custody, visitation and support disputes are always focused on what is in the best interest of the children. Firm founder Leon F. Bennett has represented children in family law matters as a court-appointed minor’s counsel, which has given him special insight into the needs of children in legal matters. When you retain our firm to represent your legal interests, you can be assured that we will represent your children’s best interests as well.
Defining Child Custody
Put simply, Child Custody involves issues pertaining to minor children and usually encompasses and identifies each parent’s responsibility for decisions pertaining to their Minor Child’s health, education and welfare. It also encompasses other child support issues like time share arrangements between the children and their parents. Frequently, divorcing parents have disagreements with respect to their minor children. Which parent will be responsible for which day to day decisions for the children? What time share arraignment is in the best interest of the minor children? How to deal with each other regarding the children in a manner that serves the best interests of the children. These are common Child Custody issues.
There are two kinds of child custody decisions:
- Physical Child Custody
- Legal Child Custody
Physical Child Custody
Physical child custody refers to the time the children will live with each parent after Divorce proceedings have been finalized. If the Parents are sharing time with the children in a substantially equal manner, this is generally referred to as Joint Physical Custody. If one parent has the predominant amount of time with the children and the other parent is but an infrequent visitor in the children’s lives, then that generally describes a Sole Legal Custody order.
Joint Physical Custody
The definition of Joint Physical Custody does not require an equal sharing of the children’s time between the parents. Substantial periods of time with each parent is what Joint Physical Custody envisions.
When parents can’t agree, the time allocation (Physical Custodial Timeshare) depends on many factors including each parent’s job or lifestyle to help determine how much time can be devoted to the child. Geography can also play a role based on where the child goes to school or participates in extracurricular activities and where each parent intends to reside.
Sole Physical Custody
A court may decide to award sole physical custody to one parent based on a variety of reasons such as one parent resides far from the child’s home or is prone to travelling a lot. Alternatively, the court may choose this option if there is evidence of domestic abuse or substance abuse.
Legal Child Custody
Legal child custody refers to the right and responsibility of making important decisions about the child’s upbringing including those associated with health, education, recreational activities, religion and many more.
Like Physical Child Custody, there are both Joint and Sole Legal Custody arrangements that can be made in child custody and visitation matters. The State of California’s preference is to award two capable parents Joint Legal Custody. In other words, both parents are required to consult with one another, and reach agreements on issues relating to their children.