Key Issues in Family Law

Child Custody and Visitation are often the most contentious aspects in Family Law cases. There are several intertwined parts to Child Custody and Visitation disputes. Often, when parties learn the meaning and significance (or insignificance) of terminology and the flexibility in the law to make changes consistent with the best interests of the children, the conflict can be eliminated or reduced significantly.  The conflict over custody and visitation can lead to more harmful consequences to the children than a parent's concern about the parenting schedule's consequences. That said, parents should anticipate changes in their roles. That may mean more or less time where the child's welfare is the responsibility of a particular parent.

Legal Custody (Click to expand)

Under California law, Legal custody reflects a parent’s right to participate in fundamental decision-making about a child’s health, education, and welfare. Joint legal custody (where both parents have equal say in such matters) is very common and has little relationship to the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Although joint legal custody is commonly awarded to parents, parents that have high conflict and demonstrate an inability to work together may find themselves with a sole legal custody order until they work together with less conflict.  This may include situations in which the court feels that both parents contribute excessively to conflict, but bestows legal custody on one parent.  The issue is not about punishing bad behavior; it is about what is best for the child/children. Family Law judicial officers (Judges and Commissioners) in San Diego, El Cajon, Chula Vista and North County courts are trained to successfully distinguish between the best interests of the children the children's stated in their stakeq desires and even improper behavior at times, of the parents battling one another. Raskin Law Office helps clients understand and prepare the real basis for these decisions by judicial officers.

Physical Custody (Click to expand)

Physical custody refers to the child’s physical residence with the parent(s), the schedule (Parenting Plan), and the parents' caretaker responsibilities for the child. The terminology of physical custody is likely to have less legal impact than the actual child sharing arrangement. The Family Law judicial officers (Judges and Commissioners) in San Diego, El Cajon, Chula Vista and North County courts, can award  "Joint Physical Custody (which is not necessarily exactly 50% time with each parent), or "Sole Physical Custody" to one parent with visitation rights (or not) to the other parent. If each parent has substantial time with the child on a regular basis, the label "Sole Physical Custody" is not particularly controlling, while calling a schedule where one parent has the child/children on alternating weekends a "Joint Physical Custody" arrangement on paper would also likely have little impact in later disputes.  What the child/children experience on a regular basis will have much more impact in future disputes than labels.  (See Moveaway issues, below.)


Technically, physical custody is either sole or joint. However, even courts use terms such as “primary physical custody” or “primary caretaker” to describe parenting roles and time – even though such terms  are not actually part of the Family Code definitions.

Moveaways (Click to expand)

Moveaway requests are some of the most challenging and painful post-judgment issues Family Law judicial officers (Judges and Commissioners) in San Diego, El Cajon, Chula Vista and North County courts (and parents & their lawyers) face.

For a brief background on moveaway law, please click here.

- Custody & Visitation

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