child custody

Understanding Child Custody Laws in California

Too often, emotions tend to come to the surface during a divorce. Spouses may hate each other or sometimes be unavailable to their children. Unfortunately, some spouses also resort to taking advantage of child custody as a means to get back at their ex. All of this can significantly affect your child’s well-being and peace of mind.

If you are about to get divorced, your main concern would be the children. As a parent, you will naturally want to minimize the effects of divorce on your children. You will want them to continue with their lives the same way they did before the divorce and to receive the same love and attention from both parents.

Therefore, both parents must work together to ensure that their children are not traumatized by the whole thing.

The most pertinent question that arises during a divorce is how custody and visitation will be decided. Both parents want to have primary custody and do what they think is best for their child. During this time, it is necessary to know who makes that decision and based on what factors.

All parents should understand how child custody is awarded in California and the factors that affect custody. Spouses can reach an agreement on their own without a court order. This collaborative approach generally benefits all parties, including children. It helps maintain friendly relations between parents long after the divorce and minimizes conflicts in front of the child.

However, not all spouses can work together, necessitating a court trial. Sometimes a bitter spouse can make things more difficult for the other. But because the stakes are so high, you, as a parent, must do everything you can to ensure the best interests of your child.

At this time, many important decisions need to be made that will determine your child’s future and happiness. To do it right, you need an experienced attorney who can provide you with the proper advice to guide you toward a beneficial resolution and obtain a custody agreement that is best for your child.

You should also know your rights and obligations as a parent, understand the options before you and what to expect next.

In this blog, we will talk about the basics of child custody laws in California.


How is child custody determined in California?

The determining factor influencing child custody in California is the best interests of the child. The courts have wide discretionary powers in this regard. A family court judge must look at the individual circumstances of the case to determine what type of custody arrangement is best for the child.

The best interests of the child are determined by several factors including, but not limited to:

  • The desire and preferences of the child, given that he or she has reached the age and maturity to make such decisions (usually 12 years).
  • Age and health of the child.
  • Emotional bonds between the child and parents.
  • The parents’ ability to care for the child.
  • The emotional and mental stability of both parents.
  • Any criminal history or record of substance abuse.
  • Any record of domestic violence from either parent.

The judge’s final custody order is based on these factors and more.


Types of Child Custody in California

Custody can be physical and legal, both being joint or sole. Let’s explore each in detail:

1. Legal custody

Legal custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of a parent to make important decisions for the child. Legal custody can be joint, where both parents have the right and responsibility, or exclusive custody, where only one of the parents has it. The parent with legal custody can make decisions such as:

  • The education of the child
  • religious activities
  • Health care
  • vacations and trips
  • Extracurricular activities

Joint custody is granted when both parents can work together for the well-being of the child.

2. Physical Custody

Physical custody is the right of the parents to take care of the child’s accommodation. The child resides with the parent who has physical custody. The court may award joint physical custody when the child lives with both parents, although this does not necessarily mean that the time will be split in half. Typically, one parent gets more custody than the other and is called the primary custodial parent.

Alternatively, there may be cases where both parents can make important decisions about their child’s future, but only one gets physical custody. The child resides with one parent while the other has visitation rights.

3. Sole Custody

Sole custody is when one parent has physical and legal custody while the other has visitation rights. There may be cases where the court determines that sole custody is in the best interest of the child. However, sole custody is granted when one party is unfit to raise the child or resides far away from the other, making it difficult for the child to move around.

The non-custodial parent can get:


  • Scheduled visits

Scheduled visits where both parents create a schedule that clearly defines visiting times;


  • Reasonable visits

When both parents make an open visitation plan; and


  • Supervised visit

Supervised visits are those in which the parents visit the child in front of a family member or professional agency.


The court may completely deny visitation rights to a parent if that parent poses a physical or mental danger to the child and any physical contact with them is not in the child’s best interest.

4. Joint custody

Joint custody is the most common type of custody arrangement. Courts also favor this type of custody because it allows the child to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents. This arrangement is made when the parents also have a healthy relationship with each other. The court can adopt an agreement that suits the parents’ circumstances.

While joint legal custody is commonly granted, joint physical custody is granted when both parents reside near each other, making it easier for both to spend time with their children.

Factors Affecting Child Custody in California

As mentioned above, courts will look at the best interests of the child before awarding custody to one or both parents.

Children have the right to spend time with both parents, as long as they are properly supervised and cared for. The court will also consider other circumstances and the family dynamics involved in each case. The judge must defend the best interests of the child and provide him with the best possible home. Factors such as the parents’ behavior, their jobs, how they raised and cared for their children, and the parents’ family background will be taken into account.

The child can have a say in which parent he or she wants to live and spend time with. If the child is not mature enough, the court may not consider his/her preference as they can be easily manipulated by parents. Again, there is no specific age at which a child is considered mature enough to make their own decisions. The court will consider it on a case-by-case basis.

Get Help with Custody and Visitation Arrangements with a Child Custody Lawyer

Obtaining custody and finalizing a visitation schedule are important aspects of every child custody case. At López Scca we care about your family. 

Our attorneys understand your challenges and offer the best possible solution to your family law dispute. We prioritize your child’s best interests and prepare you for a favorable outcome in court.

Get in touch for a free consultation. We can help you with a custody agreement with the safety and well-being of your children in mind.

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Understanding Grandparent Rights in Orange County, CA

Grandparents are crucial for their grandchildren. However, in Orange County, legal issues can leave you confused about your rights and options. But don’t worry: understanding O.C. The rights of grandparents are essential to safeguard the relationship with their grandchildren.

You can easily navigate the family law system and maintain your relationship with your grandchildren with the right information and tools. Let’s explore Orange County grandparent rights and empower you to exercise your legal rights.

Understanding the role of grandparents in family law

Grandparents can influence grandchildren in family law. Parents are often the primary caregivers, but grandparents offer emotional support, direction, and affection. Grandparents’ rights are not automatically granted and their participation in family dynamics may be questioned or ignored.

Understanding the position of grandparents in family law is essential to protecting your rights and those of your grandchildren. Orange County, CA laws recognize the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. A close relationship with grandparents can help a child’s emotional and social development.

In some situations, grandparents may request visitation or custody of their grandchildren. The court considers the best interests of the child, the grandparent-child relationship, and the perspectives of the parents. Grandparents’ rights may differ.

Knowing your position in your grandchildren’s lives and the legal basis for grandparent rights can help you navigate the Orange County family law system. Knowing this will help you maintain your relationship with your grandchildren and ensure they continue to receive your love and support.

Legal Basis for Grandparent Rights in Orange County

The legal foundations of grandparent rights in Orange County must be understood. Grandparents can obtain visitation or custody of their grandchildren under certain circumstances. The legal reasons for grandparent rights may vary, but the court considers numerous considerations.

Pre-existing relationships between grandparents and grandchildren that “created a bond.” are key legal foundations for grandparents’ rights. The court is more likely to approve visitation or custody if you have a deep, loving relationship with your grandchild.

Another legal basis is that one or both parents die or are unable to care for the child. The court may award visitation or custody to the grandparents to protect the well-being of the child. Additionally, if the child has lived with the grandmother for a considerable period of time or if the grandfather has been the primary caregiver, these factors may be taken into account as legal justification for claiming grandparent rights.

Each case is different and the court will evaluate the details to decide whether there is sufficient legal basis for grandparents’ rights. An experienced Orange County family law attorney can help you understand and exercise your legal rights as a grandparent.

Application for visitation rights: the procedure

Understanding the procedure is crucial when it comes to applying for grandparent visitation privileges in Orange County, CA. There are broad stages of visitation rights, but each case is different. Consult an experienced Orange County grandparent rights attorney first.

They will explain the legal requirements and processes to you. After you hire a lawyer, he or she will help you acquire evidence to support your case. Any evidence of your relationship with your grandchild, any occasions when the parents have restricted or refused your visits, and any other relevant material may indicate your connection to the child. Your attorney will request court visits.

The petition will explain why grandparent visitation is beneficial to the child and why you should have it. A court hearing follows the filing of the petition. The hearing will allow both parties to present their case and present supporting evidence and witnesses. The court will weigh the best interests of the child, the grandparent-child relationship, and the perspectives of the parents.

The court will decide on visitation privileges based on these factors. The procedure for submitting access rights can be complicated, so legal assistance is recommended. You can handle the procedure with confidence and increase your chances of obtaining visitation privileges with your grandchildren with the assistance of a qualified attorney.

Factors the Court Considers in Grandparent Rights Cases

The Orange County, California court considers several elements when evaluating grandparents’ rights. The decision to grant visitation or custody to grandparents depends on these considerations. The court considers these considerations in grandparent rights cases:

Best interests of the child: – The court prioritizes the well-being of the child. They will evaluate how grandparent involvement will improve the child’s emotional, physical, and social development.
Nature of the relationship:- The court will assess the grandfather-child relationship. The emotional bond, the care and support of the grandparents, and the stability and coherence of the relationship will be evaluated.
Parents’ views: – The court will consider the preferences of the child’s parents. The court respects the decision-making power of parents but recognizes the role of grandparents in the child’s life.
Grandparent’s Capacity to Provide: – The court may evaluate the grandparents’ capacity to provide a safe and stable home for the child. They will consider housing, finances and meeting the child’s physical and emotional requirements.
Parental Fitness: – If the parents’ abuse, neglect, or drug abuse raises questions about their ability to care for the child, the court may grant the grandparents visitation or custody.
Child’s Preferences: – The court may examine the child’s options based on age and maturity level. The court will evaluate the child’s choices based on his or her age and ability to make informed judgments.

The court will evaluate each case independently, considering the circumstances and facts. Grandparents in Orange County can successfully assert their rights in the family court system by recognizing these elements.

Grandparents as Guardians in Orange County

Grandparents may sometimes be required to act as guardians for their grandchildren under unusual circumstances. Grandparents may need to become guardians if their parents are unable to do so or if other conditions arise. Orange County, CA legislation recognizes the role of grandparents in the lives of grandchildren.

The court can grant guardianship to the grandparents if it is in the best interest of the child. This implies that grandparents could legally make critical decisions regarding the upbringing, education and well-being of their grandchildren. Lawyers can help you become a guardian through a complicated legal procedure.

Your attorney will help you navigate the court system, acquire evidence, and present your case. While being a guardian can be difficult, it is a great way to provide stability, love, and support for your grandchildren. This work ensures that their best interests are safeguarded and that they have a safe and caring environment to develop and thrive.

Seek guidance and legal assistance if you need to become a guardian. Understanding your grandparents’ rights and obligations in Orange County can help you successfully navigate the process and protect your grandchildren.

Challenging Termination of Grandparent Rights

Challenges to the termination of grandparent rights can be complicated and emotional. In Orange County, CA, grandparents can challenge the termination of their rights if they believe it is not in the best interest of their grandchildren. Parents may choose to reduce or end visitation privileges, or substantial changes may need to be re-evaluated.

Gather all the data and documents necessary to challenge the termination of grandparent rights. This may contain details of your involvement in your grandchildren’s lives, any negative effects of terminating the pregnancy on the child’s well-being and any good and loving relationship with them.

This procedure requires an expert family law attorney. They can guide you through the legal system, build a strong case, and represent you in court. Mediation may also be a possibility, as it can help all parties reach a successful agreement without litigation.

Remember that fighting termination of grandparent rights takes time, tenacity, and legal knowledge. Standing up for your rights and the best interests of your grandchildren can strengthen your relationship.


Understanding grandparent rights in Orange County is crucial to protecting and preserving your relationship with your grandchildren. Knowing the legal foundations of grandparent rights, consulting with an experienced family law attorney, and following the processes can help you protect your grandchildren.

Whether it is applying for visitation rights, becoming a guardian, or contesting the termination of your rights, perseverance and knowledge are key. Remember, you are crucial to your grandchildren’s lives and, with the right information, you can effectively navigate the family court system and remain close to your loved ones.