Any time there are minor children in a divorce proceeding, child custody is one of the first and most difficult issues to address.
There are two types of custodies: physical and legal. Physical custody determines with which parent the child will live and legal custody determines who will make decisions for the child (e.g., what school to attend, where to go for summer camp, which dentist to go to, etc.). The court’s primary concern in deciding the custody question is “the child's best interest.” As long as it is not detrimental to the best interest of the child, courts award equal legal custody (50/50) to each parent, but for the stability of the child, courts often award physical custody to one parent and a generous visitation schedule to the other parent.
The Family Code section 3020 states that it is California’s public policy to encourage “frequent and continuing contact” between children and their parents. In addition, the court’s primary concern is the child's “health, safety and welfare.” (Family Code sections 3011, 3020, 3040) Consequently, the court approaches issues of custody thinking primarily, not about the wishes or convenience of the parents but the arrangement that will best serve the children.
Child support is the financial backing required to ensure the wellbeing of the children after divorce. The amount of child support is regulated by guidelines set by the Legislature in the Family Code. In determining the amount of child support, the court will consider the current and potential earning power of the parents, the number of children from the marriage, the amount of time each parent spends with the children, specific living costs, and any special hardships that may apply.
Each parent must make preliminary financial disclosures to the other. With that information, Petitioner and Respondent can calculate the applicable “guideline support” required by statute and negotiate the details of the agreement. Parents may voluntarily choose to deviate from the guideline and special hardships may demand it, but the court must approve any deviation from the statutory standard. Once the court issues support orders, Divorce attorneys also assist in their enforcement.
As your divorce attorney, Flavio Carvalho Law works diligently to promote your child’s best interest and resolve custody, visitation, and support issues early on.