Frequently Asked Questions on Family Law

Counsel from a Rancho Cucamonga Family Lawyer

Laws regarding divorce and family law in California can be overwhelming. Below are some commonly asked questions on the subject to help you get a better idea of what to expect in any case. The list is not exhaustive though and you should call our Rancho Cucamonga family law attorneys who have over 40 years of combined experience for further question or concerns.

What is the difference between legal and physical custody?
Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions concerning the child's welfare, such as education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Legal custody may be issued jointly or solely to one parent. Physical custody involves where the child will live and which parent will be responsible for daily child care. Physical custody can be shared as well.

What is visitation?
Visitation is given to one parent when a court awards sole physical custody to another parent. A visitation schedule usually includes when and where the child will be picked up and dropped off and a schedule of holiday visits. Visitation may be supervised if the court feels unsupervised visitation is not in the best interests of the child.

Can parents agree to their own custody and visitation arrangements?
They can if they are willing to work together on an arrangement. Such an agreement needs to put in writing and submitted to a judge for review. Once approved, the custody arrangement becomes a court order to which both parents must adhere to.

How do judges decide custody issues?
Judges decide based on what is thought to be the child's best interests. Both parents are considered equally deserving of caring for the child. Judges consider factors such as the age of the child, their health, safety, and welfare, potential histories of domestic violence for either parent, nature and amount of contact each parent has with the child, whether either parent has a habit of drug and/or alcohol use, and the child's wishes.

Can I move out of state with my child?
You may not move with children without a court order after a separation, divorce, or parentage action is filed. A new custody order needs to be made if a parent wants to move out of state. If both parents can't agree they will need to go to court where a judge will hold a hearing to decide if moving is in the best interests of the child.

How is child support determined?
The net disposable incomes of both parents are used to calculate child support. If one parent is currently unemployed, a judge can still impute to them an estimated amount they should pay based on how much income they could potentially be making. The court uses this information as part of a formula to calculate how much either parent owes in child support. To understand more about what you would be required to pay, call The Law Office of Beverly W. Quinn for legal counsel.