Home Rancho Santa Fe Family Law Child Custody and Visitation

Rancho Santa Fe Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers

Representing Clients in Rancho Santa Fe Child Custody and Visitation Matters

Rancho Santa Fe is an affluent residential community on rolling hills, less than five miles from the ocean. Children may attend public elementary and middle schools up to the eighth grade or several private schools, including The Horizon School, Nativity School, and the Diegueno Country School. When parents separate or divorce, child custody, and visitation matters can arise in Rancho Santa Fe. If you are dealing with these issues, it is essential to consult with an experienced Rancho Santa Fe family law lawyer.

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What Types of Custody Are Possible in Rancho Santa Fe?

The number one priority of the courts in child custody matters is the best interests of the child. Judges prefer joint custody arrangements because they believe having an equal relationship with both parents is vital to the child’s emotional and social development. In California, there are two types of child custody:

  • Legal custody: This term refers to the right of a parent to make legal decisions for the child, such as what school the child attends, what medical treatment the child receives, and other important matters affecting the child’s welfare. Legal custody may be granted to only one parent or shared between both parents. When shared, both parents must agree on every decision, or the court must decide.
  • Physical custody: This refers to the household in which the child lives. When sole physical custody is granted to one parent, the child lives with that parent, and the other parent typically has visitation rights. In many cases, joint custody is granted, and the child lives with both parents at agreed-upon times. The courts prefer that parents have equal amounts of time with their children.

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What Are the Most Important Factors in Determining Child Custody?

Family law courts are always guided by the best interests of the child in custody matters. In deciding what is in the child’s best interest, they will consider a number of factors, including:

  • Age of the child
  • The health of the child
  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • The emotional relationship between the child and each parent
  • Where the child attends school
  • The child’s involvement in the community
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse

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How Do Visitation Agreements Work in Rancho Santa Fe?

A parent not awarded primary custody will have visitation rights in most cases. Visitation agreements are based on the best interests of the child and on the parents’ situations. There are four possible types of visitation agreements in California:

  • Reasonable visitation: This is a flexible arrangement in which the parents work out a visitation schedule based on the child’s and their own schedules. Reasonable visitation agreements work best when parents communicate well and get along.
  • Scheduled visitation: A structured, detailed visitation schedule that lays out when the child will be with each parent can help prevent conflict and confusion. Scheduled visitation agreements may include school vacations, holidays, and other special occasions, such as birthdays.
  • Supervised visitation: If the safety or well-being of the child is in question under the supervision of one parent, the court may order supervised visitation. That parent is only allowed to visit with the child under the supervision of the other parent, another adult, or a professional agency.
  • No visitation: The court may issue an order of no visitation with a parent if it believes the child’s physical or emotional safety may be at risk.

Your best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome in child custody and visitation matters in Rancho Santa Fe is to have an experienced family law attorney representing you. Contact Mattis Law, A.P.C. at (858) 328-4400.

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(858) 328-4400