One of the most challenging issues in a North County or Carlsbad divorce can be shared child custody and parenting time. Each parent may have their own goals and perspectives, but there are a few things to know about child custody and parenting time in North County divorce proceedings:
1. The best interest of the child is paramount. California law prescribes the best interest of the child as one of the primary barometers when a judge is deciding child custody and parenting time. Generally speaking our courts believe it is in the best interest of every child to spend quality time with each parent. Absent drug or alcohol abuse or criminal activity and domestic violence, most Courts want to see a fairly even split between the parents when it comes to time with the children.
2. Child custody is far different from parenting time. There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody relates to the right to make important decisions for the child including health care, education and religious practices to name a few. Physical custody is basically the right to have the child live in your household. Custody can be either joint or sole. Joint custody or shared custody means the legal rights are shared between the parents or custodial guardians. Sole custody means the court believes one of the parents should be given the responsibility for legal and/or physical custody. Parenting time is the plan for how the child(ren) will move between households after the divorce. Shared custody and parenting time has become the most common outcome in local divorce cases.
3. We have witnessed many actions over the years where one party attempts to frame the behavior of the other party in a negative way. The Court will not take one person’s word over another, but will investigate the matter thoroughly before rendering a judgment. In almost all cases the truth comes out, and attempting to mislead the court about abuse, addiction or domestic violence usually backfires.
4. The most positive arrangements and parenting plans reflect the natural rhythms of the child’s existing life and schedule. Parenting plans can be quite creative and do not have to follow a “week on, week off” pattern.
5. Mediation is an excellent tool for resolving any principled disagreement a couple may have regarding child custody or parenting time disputes. This is much more peaceful, productive, timely and less expensive than resolving the matter through litigation before a judge.
If you are concerned about shared child custody and parenting time in Carlsbad or North County we invite you to contact us or call 760-434-3330 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced Carlsbad Certified Family Law Specialists.