During a divorce, issues regarding child custody and child visitation are often quite fraught. Disagreements and disputes can be extremely emotional, which is why having skilled attorneys on your side is helpful. The Stockton, CA lawyers of Shore, McKinley, Conger & Jolley, LLP have years of experience with divorce hearings and family law matters that can prove invaluable to your case.
Below we would like to go over the basics of physical, legal, joint, and sole child custody, as well as some facts about child visitation. This should help you understand the stakes for children and parents after a divorce is finalized.
About Child Custody
Child custody refers to a parent having a child with them and being legally responsible for their child. The parent with primary custody of a child is typically known as the custodial parent.
Physical vs. Legal Custody of a Child
There are a few different types of child custody to consider. Let’s first consider physical and legal custody.
- Physical Custody - Physical custody refers to the parent who will be in charge of caring for a child or children on a daily basis.
- Legal Custody - Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the welfare of a child, which included education, health care, religious upbringing, and so forth.
Joint vs. Sole Custody of a Child
In addition to the above aspects of child custody, there are two important additional aspects to keep in mind: joint and sole custody.
- Joint Custody - Joint custody means that both parents will be actively involved with a child’s upbringing. Joint legal and physical custody, for instance, means that children divide time between parents, and that parents both participate in decisions the impact their child’s welfare.
- Sole Custody - Sole custody means that only one parent will be responsible with the child’s upbringing, with the other parent having limited or no access to the child physically or legally.
About Child Visitation
If a parent is given sole legal and/or physical custody of a child, the non-custodial parent of the child may still be granted visitation rights. This allows the non-custodial parent to see their child from time to time and participate in the child’s upbringing.
Child Visitation Schedules
Child visitation schedules are determine between spouses, their legal counsel, and/or the courts. The schedules can vary from family to family. In some cases, equal time is considered, while in other instances, one parent may have less access to their child.
Supervised Child Visitation
Some courts may order than any visitation with the non-custodial parent be supervised. This means that a professional third-party must be present during all visits with the non-custodial parent to observe interactions.
“The Best Interests of the Child”
At the heart of all child custody and visitation rulings is the best interest of a child. If a child cannot be provided with a safe, loving, and nurturing environment by one parent, the other parent will be more likely to receive sole custody of the child. Additionally, the non-custodial parent may have limited visitation rights with their child because it is in the best interests of the child.
These kinds of considerations are important if a child grew up in a hostile or abusive environment, which are factors that can be brought up during divorce proceedings.
Learn More About Child Custody and Visitation
For more information about child custody and visitation matters, it’s important that you contact an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer from Shore, McKinley, Conger & Jolley, LLP can answer all of your questions and address your concerns. You can reach our locations in Stockton and Walnut Creek by phone at (209) 477-8171.