In the case of child custody litigation, the best interests of the children must come first. It is eminently important to insure children’s needs come first. There are two separate and distinct areas of child custody law.
The first is whether the parties are going to equally share the responsibility and have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. For example legal custody encompasses the decisions relating to:
- Enrollment in or leaving a particular private or public school or daycare center
- Participation in particular religious activities or institutions
- Beginning or ending psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy
- Selection of a doctor, dentist, or other health professional, except in emergency situations
- Participation in extracurricular activities
- Out of country out-of-state travel
California Family Code 3003 defines the term joint legal custody. Joint legal custody is defined as each parent sharing the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding their children's health, education and general welfare. Specifically Family Code 3083 states:
“In making an order of joint legal custody, the court shall specify the circumstances under which the consent of both parents is required to be obtained in order to exercise legal control of the child and the consequences of the failure to obtain mutual consent. In all other circumstances, either parent acting alone may exercise legal control of the child. An order of joint legal custody shall not be construed to permit an action that is inconsistent with the physical custody order unless the action is expressly authorized by the court.”
Physical Child Custody and Timeshare
The best interests of the children is the most important factor when the parties are divorcing. The Court has the jurisdiction to make orders on where the children will be living and how custody is shared between the parents. It is important to have strong representation in this area of the divorce process.
The Court endeavors to make orders which preserve the “status quo”, meaning how were the children being raised prior to the parties separation. All families differ in who is the primary parent or if the children are equally bonded to both parents. It is the Court’s responsibility to maintain a stable and consistent parenting schedule. Lisa Ramsey has twenty five years of experience on your side to ensure the children are protected.
Child support is determined based upon the timeshare of the children, the parties respective incomes and or earning capacity and other factors which effect the net spendable income after taxes. Accurate information must be obtained to determine an accurate child support order.
Unfortunately, some parties attempt to minimize their income in order to pay the other parent less support. Lisa Ramsey’s knowledge of discovering the hidden income will provide you with a fair child support order.
Spousal support determined as either a temporary order or a permanent order. Temporary spousal support is ordered to maintain the supported party prior to the determination of permanent spousal support. Permanent spousal support is based upon Family Code 4320 factors which in part assess the following:
In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:
(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:
(1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.
(2) The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.
(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.
(f) The duration of the marriage.
(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
(h) The age and health of the parties.
(i) All documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties or perpetrated by either party against either party’s child, including, but not limited to, consideration of:
(1) A plea of nolo contendere.
(2) Emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party.
(3) Any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.
(4) Issuance of a protective order after a hearing pursuant to Section 6340.
(5) A finding by a court during the pendency of a divorce, separation, or child custody proceeding, or other proceeding under Division 10 (commencing with Section 6200), that the spouse has committed domestic violence.
(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.
(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.
(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.
(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.
(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.