Child Custody & Visitation Sacramento

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About Child Custody and Visitation

There is no doubt that finding a child custody and visitation lawyer can be a challenge. Thankfully, at Flores Legal PC in Sacramento, we’re here to help. We know how difficult it can be to find a lawyer who truly cares about the wellbeing of their clients, and that’s why no matter your situation, you can turn to us. Child custody cases can often present parents with a challenge — but at Flores Legal PC, we’ll work alongside you to fight aggressively for a good outcome. We take child custody cases very seriously and it’s our goal to find an ideal situation for the children.

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There are many types of custody arrangements, including:

  • Physical
  • Legal
  • Alternating
  • Joint
  • Sole
  • Visitation

Physical Custody

Physical custody is straightforward, as it refers primarily to whom the child lives with. This type of custody also means this parent will be obligated to care for the child's physical, emotional, and social needs directly (i.e., food, shelter, school transportation).

Physical custody can be split, but because it puts unfair stress on the child, this is usually only valid for parents who live near each other. If the child resides with one parent more often than the other, that parent's home will generally be considered the child's primary residence.

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Legal Custody

In addition to physical custody of a child, the courts must determine which parent should be granted legal custody. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions regarding how a child is educated, what religion the child is raised in, and decisions regarding non-emergency healthcare. In other words, this type of custody refers to the right to make legal decisions regarding matters that relate to the child.

In many states, courts regularly award joint legal custody, which means that both parents have a say in the decision-making process.

If you share joint legal custody with the other parent and exclude them from the decision-making process, you may get taken back to court, where your ex can ask the judge to enforce the custody agreement. You won't get fined or go to jail, but it may cause more friction between the two of you, which isn't in the child's best interest. What's more, if an attorney represents you, it's sure to be expensive.

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Alternating Custody

When parents share joint custody, they typically work out a schedule according to their work obligations, housing arrangements, and the child's needs. If the parents cannot agree on a schedule, the court will impose an arrangement. A common pattern is for children to alternate time between each parent's house or apartment.

  • Other joint custody arrangements include:
  • alternating months, years, or six-month periods
  • spending weekends and holidays with one parent while spending weekdays with the other

There is even an alternating custody arrangement where the children remain in the family home. The parents alternate moving in and out, spending their time in separate housing of their own. This is commonly called "bird's nest custody" or "nesting."

Joint Custody

Parents who don't live together have joint, or shared, custody when they share their child's decision-making responsibilities and/or physical custody. Joint physical custody means that the child lives with both parents, but not necessarily an even 50/50 split. In some states, the minimum is 35 or 40 percent as long as both parents have the child at least 40 percent of the time. The parents may agree to a schedule that takes their work obligations and the child's schedule into consideration.

Joint custody can exist if the parents are divorced, separated, or no longer cohabiting, or even if they never lived together. Joint custody may be:

  • Joint legal custody
  • Joint physical custody
  • Joint legal and physical custody

Joint physical custody is the preferred custody arrangement because the court wants to ensure that the child maintains meaningful contact with both parents. The state will award joint physical custody unless proven that this is not in the child's best interest. The court starts by assuming that this type of custody would be best and then examines the evidence to determine if this should be adjusted for one parent over the other.

When a court is deciding whether or not to award joint physical custody, it may consider several circumstances, including the distance between the parents' residences, the parents' ability to communicate with each other, and other factors.

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Sole Custody

This term, sole custody, is used when the child primarily lives with one parent. If sole physical custody is awarded, the other parent is usually allowed visitation with the child. In this situation, the child lives with the custodial parent and may visit the noncustodial parent every other weekend, holidays, and summer break. Sole physical custody may be ordered when there is high conflict between the parents or the parents live far apart.

However, most states are moving away from awarding sole custody and more toward enlarging both parents' roles in their child's life. Even where courts do award sole physical custody, the parents often share joint legal custody, while the noncustodial parent is granted a visitation schedule. In these situations, the parents would make joint decisions about the child's upbringing. It's best not to seek sole custody unless the other parent truly causes direct harm to the child.

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Visitation

If visitation is ordered for the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent must comply with the ordered visitation schedule and cannot refuse to provide a scheduled visit. Furthermore, the non-custodial parent cannot refuse to return the child. Violating visitation rights can result in severe consequences, including potentially being found in contempt of court. In some cases, interfering with visitation or custody can have criminal implications. Some states can view a violation of visitation rights as a material change in circumstances that can warrant modifying child custody.

About Our Child Custody/Visitation and Child Support Services

Because child custody and visitation cases often have various arrangements, we’ll work to keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of everything we do. If you are currently or soon to be involved in a child custody case, it’s important to have a plan in place.

At Flores Legal PC, we’re happy to answer your legal questions or start with a consultation. At the end of the day, having a professional attorney on your side is invaluable, and we’d love to help you find a solution to your specific situation.

Finding the right child support attorney in Sacramento can feel like a challenge, but at Flores Legal PC, we want you to know that we’ll fight hard for your rights as a parent. Although the experience often feels daunting, our law firm can provide you with strategic assistance and assertive, aggressive representation.

You deserve to have an advocate on your side, and when you choose Flores Legal PC, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Known for our core principles of transparency, compassion, and access, we strive to provide each of our clients with an unmatched experience. You deserve the best. When you work with us, that’s what you’ll get.

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Are You Having Issues With Child Support?

It’s normal to feel frustrated and confused in these difficult times, but what you should know is that when you work with Flores Legal PC, you’ll be working one-on-one with an experienced child support attorney to develop a strategy that is appropriate for your specific situation.

There is no doubt that the justice system is complex and difficult to navigate. With the team at Flores Legal PC by your side, you can rest assured that we’ll fight hard to get the results you’re looking for.

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