GETTING A DIVORCE? THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT CUSTODY AND VISITATION
Many people believe that once they file for divorce, the Court will set a hearing date to determine custody and visitation of the minor children. Not true. In order to get child custody orders, one of the parties needs to file what is called an Request for Order asking the Court for child custody and visitation orders. Without child custody and visitation orders, neither party knows when he or she is supposed to exercise custodial time with the children. Either parent may pick the children up from school, schedule activities without checking with the other parent, or worse, withhold the children from, say, dad, depriving the children of a relationship with their father.
When one party files an Request for Order for child custody and visitation, that party is requesting that the judge make a determination about what is in the best interests of the children. If, for example, mom has been the primary caretaker, then she may ask the court for sole legal and physical custody of the children. What does all this legal jargon mean?
Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the children. Legal custody rights encompass the right to choose the children’s school, make decisions about doctors, etc. Physical custody, simply put, is where the children will live. If the children live with mom, for example, then in most cases, dad should be entitled to visitation. The question for the Court is what child custody and visitation order is in the best interest of the children?
Joint legal custody is the obligation to share information regarding decision-making. Joint physical custody means that the children live with both parents, on a particular schedule. For example, mom may have child custody during the school week, and dad may have custody on the weekends because he works and can’t really exercise custody during the week.
A qualified family law attorney can help you define your child custody and visitation goals, determine what is reasonable in light of the facts of your particular case.
The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton is a top family law firm dedicated to protecting your legal rights. Our goal is to empower you. Our job is to protect you. Cathleen E. Norton, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney who obtained both her B.A. and J.D. credentials from UCLA. You won’t find a better qualified attorney to represent you! We have offices in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Westlake Village and service family law cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 300-4021. For more information about the Firm as well as common questions and answers about family law, please visit our website at www.nortonfamilylaw.com.