Law Offices of Eric W. Symonds
315 W Pondera St
Phone: 661-940-1742 661-940-1742
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Legal custody refers to who will make the “major life decisions” for the children. Issues such as school and healthcare are among the most prominent concerns. A parent with legal custody has access to the child’s educational and medical records irrespective of whether that child is living with that parent or not. It is common for parents to have joint legal custody for this reason.
Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child lives. Generally, one parent will have primary physical custody and the other will have visitation. The court considers many factors in fashioning orders for physical custody. Issues such as proximity to school and stability with regard to daily home-life are among those considered. Above all else, the “best interests” of the child is considered. Since each situation is unique, and the needs of each family can differ greatly, the Court will consider all the evidence before it and make the decision that benefits the children, not the desires of the parent.
Orders for child custody are commonly changed by the requesting parent filing a Request for Order and giving the other parent notice of the date the Court will hear the matter. Unless there is an emergency, proper notice is essential and it will generally be about 45-60 days before your case will be in court. It is always best to be represented by an attorney in these matters. Remember, you are going into a court of law and there are rules about what can and cannot be presented pursuant to the Evidence Code; this is not necessarily a situation where you can “just explain things to the Judge.”
Unless you agree with every single aspect of the order the other parent is requesting, you must respond and show up in court on the appointed day. Time is of the essence as your response must be filed with the court and served on the other parent within certain time constraints. Representation by an attorney is critical to ensure that your rights are protected.
Payment of child support is a creature of statute in California and is calculated by an algebraic equation. Essentially the Court calculates the time the children spend with each parent verses the income of each parent, and the resulting figure is the amount of child support paid. Child support is for the children; it is something paid by mothers to fathers just as easily as it is paid by fathers to mothers. It is largely not negotiable and generally continues until the child reaches age 18. It contemplates the income of the parents at the time the order is made. Thus, child support is able to be modified if certain conditions exist or substantial changes have occurred.
There are many tools available to enforce payment of child support. Some of them are free to the parent who needs to enforce an order. There are drastic consequences should child-support payments fall behind substantially. Only an attorney can advise you concerning your ability to collect, or your liability to pay child support. Regardless of which side you fall on, you should consult competent legal counsel to understand your rights and responsibilities.
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