California family law focuses on two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines where the child will live and how that will be divided between each parent. Legal custody determines the right to make important decisions in the life of a child including but not limited to:
- Religious Practices
- Extra-Curricular Activities
Child custody and parenting time orders govern these two crucial areas of your divorce. There are two types of orders: temporary and permanent. Temporary orders are usually issued at the outset of a divorce case. Permanent orders are issued when all aspects of child custody and parenting time have been fully resolved, usually at the end of the divorce process. It is important to understand the temporary orders at the outset can have a substantial impact on what is ultimately contained within the permanent orders.
A brief primer on child custody and parenting time would not be complete without resolving some false myths. Mothers do not have any legal advantage in child custody and parenting time decisions under California law. Gender is no longer a factor in this process. California law establishes two important principles:
- The primary factor is what is in the best interest of the child
- It is in the best interest of a child in most cases to spend equal quality time with each parent
Finally, a parent may not take the children and move out of the area, out of state or out of the country unless they have sole physical and legal custody. Any attempt to do so will be met with harsh consequences by North County Family Law Courts.