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Experienced Stockton Child Custody Law Firm for Help When You Need in Most

In a divorce involving children, custody is perhaps the most pervasive conflict that arises between the two parents — and justifiably so. Parent-child bonds are sensitive to social distance, and a reduction in time spent with one parent may have a permanent impact on that relationship. Thus, resolutions are difficult to come by without the help of a Stockton child custody lawyer

Though important — and broadly relevant to parents — California child custody laws are often misunderstood by the general public. Let’s take a closer look at some of the basics for clarity.

What is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody in California? 

People often confuse the concept of custody with “physical” custody — control over the child’s whereabouts. In California, child custody can be further broken down into “legal” custody and “physical” custody concepts.

Legal custody is the right of a parent to make long-term decisions regarding the care of their child, specifically with respect to education, health, safety, and general welfare, and even their religious upbringing.

By contrast, physical custody grants actual control over the presence of the child. Physical custody can be granted to one parent, while legal custody is granted to one or both. Custody need not be exclusive — in California, parents can be granted joint physical custody, joint legal custody, one, or even both.

Our Stockton Child Custody Law Firm Explains the Custody Determination Factors 

California gives judges significant discretion with which to decide on the ideal custody arrangement, but judges are limited by a need to ensure that the “best interests” of the child are met at all times.

What constitutes “best interests”? 1) The health, safety, and welfare of the child must be furthered through the custody arrangement, and no result should be inconsistent with that; and 2) children generally benefit from maintaining continuing and meaningful contact with their legal parents.

Factors relevant to the “best interest” analysis include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Maintaining continuity in the child’s environment;
  • Whether a parent has physical and/or psychological limitations that could impact the health, safety, and welfare of the child;
  • Whether a parent has the ability to provide financially for the child;
  • Child preference;
  • Emotional bonds between the child and each parent;
  • The child’s relationship with other siblings;
  • Whether a parent is known to have engaged in child or partner abuse;
  • Whether a parent has a history of substance abuse;
  • The prior criminal record of each parent (and its potential impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the child).

Contact MCJG to Speak with an Experienced Stockton Child Custody Lawyer

Here at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP, our team has decades of experience working with clients in Central Valley who find themselves involved in serious family law disputes, including those centering around a child custody determination.

We understand just how important custody is to the development of a healthy, happy, and sustainable parent-child relationship. For many parents, a child custody battle is the single most important legal dispute in their lifetime. The stakes are simply too high to resign oneself to the process without securing adequate help from a Stockton child custody law firm.

Let us help you preserve a reasonable family structure during this sensitive time. Call us at 209-477-8171 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney at our Stockton child custody law firm. We serve clients throughout California and the Central Valley.

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