PALM DESERT CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ATTORNEY
SOLE PHYSICAL AND SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY
Sole legal and sole physical custody of a child allows the custodial parent to exercise basically all of the important child-rearing decisions with the non-custodial parent only exercising visitation rights. California law has gone the opposite direction from when it preferred that one parent be awarded sole custody. Fathers currently have substantial child custody and visitation rights in California. In fact, if a mother is abusing drugs or being neglectful, the father can be awarded sole legal and sole physical custody. However, joint physical and joint legal custody orders are commonly made in the family law court. Both parents in generally normal cases share as much equal time with the children as possible with a few caveats. There is no doubt that parents may have antipathy towards the other parent, but parents should not seek sole custody unless there is some type of direct harm to the child or children. In fact, a parent will have to convince a judge that sole legal and/or sole physical custody is in the best interest of the child, and this is a difficult task to accomplish. Even if a court orders sole physical custody to one parent, it is likely that a court will award the other parent supervised visitation for a period of time while still letting the noncustodial parent have joint legal custody.
JOINT LEGAL AND JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY ORDERS
Joint legal and joint physical custody orders are either agreed to or ordered by the court when parents no longer live with one another. Joint custody orders require parents to share in the decision-making responsibilities of the children. The court can order that parents share joint physical custody or even order that one parent has primary joint physical custody even though the most important issue is the actual timeshare each parent spends with the child. Decisions that need to be made about the child's health or school concern legal custody, and the vast majority of cases order parents to share joint legal custody.
Parents must look at their work schedules and housing arrangements in determining what is best for the children. Parents need to negotiate parenting plans that work well for all parties in sharing joint legal and physical custody. One order that can generally be made in virtually every case is that parents shall alternate the weekends with the children or be assigned the first, third and fifth weekends of the month for more specificity with litigious parents. This alternating weekend schedule would not necessarily be available if one parents lives in California while the other parent lives in Florida. Some parents work out schedules where one parent has Monday and Tuesday with the children while the other parent has Wednesday and Thursday and the parents alternate the weekends. Some parents prefer to have a week on and week off schedule where one parent has seven consecutive days prior to the other parent exercising seven consecutive days with the children. Parents should anticipate alternating holidays. If one parent lives in New York while the other lives in California, the noncustodial parent will probably exercise a substantial portion of the summer with the children to compensate for not having much time during the school year.
Joint legal and joint physical custody orders help to ensure that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents as required by California law. There is no doubt that it is difficult to commute children back and forth, especially when one parent does not cooperate. However, parents must work to set aside their differences and the court can take steps to assure compliance with court orders. Parents can file an affidavit for contempt of court if one parent willfully violates a court order even though courts tend to prefer alternative methods of compliance. Parents can file request for orders to modify or change child custody and visitation if parents don't cooperate with court orders. Parents should not alienate the children from the other parent or they could jeopardize their own custody schedule. Dealing with two new homes for the new family arrangements is difficult. Disagreeing parents may be unable to stipulate/agree to custody orders and they may disagree with the court's orders, but they will need to find a way to co-parent.
Relocation cases are some of the most emotional cases at the Larson Justice Center courthouse located in Indio since one parent is generally requesting to move-away with the children. Imagine if the other parent is requesting to take the children out of the Coachella Valley and move to New York. Your custodial rights would be extremely limited if the judge allows the other parent to move-away with the children. If you are considering moving away with the children or need a Palm Desert family law attorney to represent you in court opposing the other parent's request, hiring Palm Desert child custody and visitation attorney Joseph Torri is the right decision. There are many factors that the court needs to consider and the court may order that the parties participate in a 730 evaluation.
The court may also order that a minor's counsel attorney be appointed to represent the child if the child is an appropriate age. Minor's counsel attorneys can investigate the facts surrounding the case and whatever else the judge is asking for.
Parents should not take these cases lightly. Move-away cases have serious consequences either way. If the parent making the request is unsuccessful, the court needs to make court orders as if that parent is actually making the move. Consequently, the parent making the request jeopardizes losing primary custody if that parent had primary custody. Family law cases are not black and white. Handling family law cases the right way from the beginning of the case should be the goal of every parent.
The Law Offices of Joseph Torri welcomes your telephone call to schedule an initial consultation at (866) 630-5757 or you may send a request through the website.
Joseph Torri, Attorney at Law is no longer accepting new clients. Also, Mr. Torri is not offering a free initial consultation.