Custody & Visitation: Common Questions

At Claery & Hammond, LLP, our lawyers understand that your children are the most precious people in your life, which is why we fight adamantly on behalf of parents in the family courts. Unfortunately, family law in California is often confusing, and to better assist our community, we have provided helpful answers to some of the custody and visitation questions commonly asked by our valued clients.

Will the mother automatically win custody of the kids?
Contrary to popular belief, the state's family courts do not favor the mother when determining which parent will be awarded custody of the couple's children. The judge's concern is the best interests of the children, which means they will thoroughly evaluate a number of factors to determine which parent will better care for and nurture the children.

What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody?
There are many different aspects of custody that must be addressed by the family court, including who will be awarded physical custody and legal custody of the children. Physical custody is the right given to one parent or shared between both parents to have the children reside at their residence. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make all decisions for the children's lives, such as education, religion, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.

Do I have any rights to my grandchild?
California family law recognizes how important a child's relationship with their grandparents is, and you do have legal rights. If one or both of the child's parents are keeping you from having contact with them, you can fight to protect your relationship with your grandchild by filing for visitation. If the court grants your petition, you will have legally enforceable rights to spend time with your grandchild.

What are my rights as a father?
If you have established legal paternity for your children, you have a number of rights as their father including the right to seek visitation, the right to petition for custody, and the right to be informed of any other legal proceedings involving your child.

What can I do if my ex-partner isn't holding to the visitation schedule?
In some cases one parent will try to keep the child from the other parent by failing to bring the child for their court-ordered visitation times. If this is your situation, do not wait to contact a skilled attorney who can assist you in bringing the issue before the court to have the schedule enforced or modified to ensure you receive adequate time with your child.

Do you have questions about your custody or visitation situation? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced family lawyers to discuss your circumstances and learn how we can help you protect your relationship with your children.