Child Custody and Support FAQ

What Will Happen to My Kids? Answers to Your California Child Custody Questions

Nothing affects you more than what happens to your children. At Rodriguez Lagorio, LLP, our husband-and-wife team is here to ensure that your children’s needs are always the first thing considered.

We know you have questions about how your split will affect your children. Here are our answers to commonly asked questions about California custody.

If my ex isn’t paying child support, can I refuse visitation?

The short answer is no. The reason is that, while they seem connected, the state of California views child support and child visitation as two separate issues. Child visitation agreements are legally binding. They are not contingent or dependent on if child support money has been received.

What does ‘joint physical custody’ mean?

It means that both parents will spend quality time with the child. The time spent with the child may not be 50-50 given logistics and school and work schedules. But it will be 60-40 or possibly 70-30. When parents have joint custody, it means that both parents make decisions. These are significant decisions about the child’s upbringing, including religion, education, and medical care.

How is custody determined in California?

The good news is that separated parents who can have a meaningful conversation about their child’s schedule and where their child should live can often create their own parenting plans. A judge will usually sign off on an agreement. However, when parents cannot agree, the matter will be decided by a judge after they have considered the children’s best interests.

What factors do California courts consider when determining child support?

Child support is required in most cases when parents have a custody order. The support order is calculated based on how much time each parent spends with the children, their respective income, and the children’s unique medical needs.

How does the court determine visitation rights for the non-custodial parent?

If one parent has primary custody, the other person receives visitation. The amount and type of visitation granted depends on why joint custody was not ordered. For example, if one parent simply lives far away, they may receive reasonable unsupervised visitation rights. However, if they have substance abuse or anger problems, they may be limited to a few hours of supervised visitation each month or even have their rights revoked.  

Can grandparents get custody of a child in California?

Yes, in certain situations, grandparents are eligible for child custody in California. However, parents’ custody rights come first. Before a grandparent can receive custody, they must file a claim in court to prove that the child’s parents or legal guardians are putting the child at risk of abuse, harm, or neglect.

How do I start a child custody case in California?

As with most family law disputes, you must file a petition with your local family court. However, your first step should be to talk to an experienced child custody attorney. Your attorney will ensure your petition is accurate and comprehensive, helping you start the case on the best possible terms.

Get the Advocacy Your Child Needs and Deserves

We are dedicated to giving you legal counsel and representation that is both compassionate and assertive. We are committed to providing the type of service and advocacy you need to protect your child’s best interests. Reach our team at 925-963-2709 or email us to request a consultation to discuss your case. We help family law clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2011, we have served people needing family law counsel.