Child Custody in Los Angeles

Duncan Family Law: Leading Child Custody Lawyers in Los Angeles

Navigating child custody cases can be challenging and emotionally taxing. At Duncan Family Law, we stand with you to provide expert legal counsel, ensuring that the best interests of your children are prioritized. Our skilled Los Angeles child custody lawyers are dedicated to safeguarding your parental rights and providing comprehensive legal assistance during this difficult time.

Understanding Child Custody

Child custody is the legal term that refers to the rights and responsibilities a parent or guardian has towards their child. These responsibilities include providing care, making decisions about the child’s education, health, and general welfare, and ensuring the child’s overall wellbeing. Child custody cases arise during divorce proceedings or when unmarried parents seek legal clarity regarding their responsibilities.

The Types of Child Custody

The two primary forms of custody in Los Angeles are physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody relates to where the child resides, while legal custody pertains to the decision-making power regarding the child’s upbringing. Both types can be further classified into joint or sole custody:

  • Joint physical custody: The child spends substantial time with both parents.
  • Sole physical custody: The child resides with one parent, while the other may have visitation rights.
  • Joint legal custody: Both parents share the decision-making power in raising the child.
  • Sole legal custody: One parent makes all significant decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

Allocation of Parental Responsibility

The allocation of parental responsibility, often synonymous with child custody, determines who gets to make critical decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and overall welfare. This allocation also determines the amount of parenting time each parent gets with the child.

Key Factors in Child Custody Cases

When determining parental responsibility, the court takes several factors into account, focusing on the best interests of the child:

  1. The parents’ wishes regarding parenting time.
  2. The child’s preferences, if they are mature enough to make an informed decision.
  3. The child’s interaction with the parents, siblings, and others who may significantly affect the child’s interests.
  4. The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.
  5. The mental and physical health of all involved.

Expertise in Handling Complex Child Custody Cases

Our lawyers at Duncan Family Law have the proficiency to deal with the complexities involved in child custody disputes. Whether the case entails negotiating joint physical custody or addressing concerns about child neglect, our lawyers deliver tailored solutions that prioritize the child’s wellbeing.

FAQs About Child Custody in Los Angeles

1. What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Physical custody pertains to the parent with whom the child resides, whereas legal custody refers to the decision-making rights a parent has concerning the child’s health, education, and general welfare.

2. What does joint custody mean?

Joint custody implies that both parents share substantial responsibility and time with the child. This could be joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both. In joint physical custody, the child spends considerable time living with each parent. In joint legal custody, both parents have the authority to make major decisions for the child.

3. How is child custody determined?

Child custody is determined by the court, taking into account several factors, all focused on the child’s best interests. These factors include the child’s wishes (if they are mature enough), the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to home and school, the health of all individuals involved, and more.

4. Can a father get sole custody of his child?

Yes, a father can be awarded sole custody of his child if it’s determined to be in the child’s best interests. While the courts no longer automatically favor the mother in custody cases, the final decision is always based on what will best serve the child’s welfare.

5. Can custody orders be modified?

Yes, custody orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances and the change is in the best interest of the child. This could be a change in the residential location of a parent, the child’s preference at a certain age, the health of a parent, etc.

6. How does joint custody affect child support?

Child support is determined by the income of both parents, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and the specific needs of the child. In a joint custody arrangement, these factors will be assessed to determine the appropriate child support responsibilities for each parent.

7. Do unmarried parents have the same custody rights as married ones?

While the marital status does not directly affect custody rights, unmarried fathers may need to take extra steps to establish legal paternity to secure their custody and visitation rights.

8. How is a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) or Parental Responsibility Evaluator (PRE) involved in custody cases?

A CFI or PRE can be appointed by the court to investigate and evaluate the child’s best interests. They provide a detailed report with their findings and recommendations to assist the court in making a decision about parental responsibilities.

9. Does my child have a say in the custody decision?

While the child’s preference may be considered, it is only one of many factors the court evaluates. The weight given to the child’s preference typically depends on the child’s age, maturity, and reasoning behind the preference.

10. How can a lawyer help in a child custody case?

A lawyer can provide valuable assistance in a child custody case by advocating for your parental rights, providing legal counsel, and representing you in court proceedings. They can also help negotiate custody agreements and navigate the complexities of the legal process.

Contact Duncan Family Law Today

If you are grappling with child custody issues, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance. At Duncan Family Law, our top-tier child custody lawyers in Los Angeles are here to provide the guidance you need. Contact us today to understand your legal rights and explore your options. We’re committed to making this challenging journey as smooth as possible for you.


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