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Child Custody and Visitation Rights: What Every Parent Should Know

Last updated 6 years ago

California Family Law Courts assign child custody and visitation rights based on the best interests of the child. The court’s primary concern is to ensure a child's health, safety, and welfare by creating an effective and legally enforceable custody and visitation agreement between the parents.

  • Child Custody

There are two kinds of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. If a parent has legal custody, he or she makes important decisions for the children regarding health care, education, and welfare. A parent with physical custody, on the other hand, is the parent the children live with, but one that cannot unilaterally make major decisions on behalf of the children.

In California, either parent can be awarded sole custody, or the parents can share joint custody. Generally, a family law judge makes the final decision about custody and visitation, but he or she usually will approve the parenting plan arrangement that both parents agree on ahead of time. Should a parent’s job or health situation change dramatically, custody arrangements can be revised.

  • Visitation Rights

Visitation is the plan for how the parents will share time with the children. When determining visitation time, courts will look at a child's age, health, the ability of you or your spouse to care for the child, and how well the child has adapted to a certain home, school, and community. Usually, the judge will not make a decision about custody and visitation until after both parents have met with a mediator from California Family Court Services. Much like custody rights, visitation agreements involve back-and-forth negotiation between parents. During these negotiations, it helps to have a lawyer by your side to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of.

Custody and visitation agreements can be complex, and an experienced attorney will help you maximize time with your children. An attorney’s knowledge of the law will ensure that your rights are respected and that your child is properly cared for. Call Moreno Family Law in San Jose at (408) 266-9011 today for additional information.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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