Child Custody

child support lawChild custody and visitation is often the most emotional part of any family law matter whether the parents were married or not. The first thing that anybody involved in a child custody matter must understand is that there are two forms of custody under the law of the State of California:

  • Legal Custody
  • Physical Custody

Legal Custody determines which parent will make decisions about the child’s or children’s health, safety, education, and welfare.

  • Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the children’s school, doctors and general welfare.
  • Joint legal custody means that both parents share the decision making rights and responsibilities. They cooperate on decision-making.
  • Joint legal custody with one parent having the ultimate decision making power means that when the parents have a meaningful discussion on an issue and are unable to reach a decision, one parent may have the ultimate decision making authority.

In the majority of cases, both parents will share joint legal custody, which means they have the responsibility and obligation to communicate with each other regarding the health, safety, and welfare of their child or children. While emotions between the parents may be extremely tense during a custody process, we remind all parents at the Law Offices of Daniel S. Williams that regardless of what has lead to the breakdown of the relationship between the parents, the exercise of legal custody is about the health, safety and welfare of the child or children and any actions or behaviors that do not solely aim for the best interests of the child or children have been scientifically shown to cause not only psychological damage to children, but physical damage to children’s development which in turn can lead to delayed learning and development. Therefore, it is extremely important that each parent understand the necessity to approach the matter of legal custody solely focused on what is best for their child or children.

Physical Custody determines where the children will reside.

  • Primary physical custody means the children live with and are under the supervision of one parent and have visitation with the other parent as agreed upon by the parties or as ordered by the court.
  • Joint physical custody means the children reside with both parents. When parents have joint physical custody, each parent has significant periods of physical custody so that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Regardless of what terms are used "primary physical custody" versus "joint legal custody" parents may create their own child sharing schedule so long as it is not detrimental to the best interests of the child. Often this is not possible and the Court will have to order what is referred to as a parenting plan or child sharing plan. A parenting plan or child sharing plan can be agreed to outside of the Court or with the assistance of Court appointed mediators offered free of charge to parents that are going though a contested child custody proceeding. The procedures and format of how the Court appointed mediation works differs from the various counties throughout California, but generally if the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the mediators will write recommendations for the Court based on their interviews with the parties, collateral contacts, and when appropriate input from the children. Attorney Daniel S. Williams has litigated disputed custody matters involving parties of a variety of different socioeconomic backgrounds as well as being one of a very select few Family Law Attorneys to successfully petition the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to successfully return children kidnapped by one of their parents to a foreign country back to the United States of America.

Child Custody and Visitation requires tough and aggressive representation when you and the other parent are unable to reach an agreement. You need an attorney that has the experience and knowledge to understand your unique situation and fight for a child sharing plan that is in the best interests of your child or children. Attorney Daniel S. Williams is renowned for his extensive experience in child custody and visitation matters, well respected throughout the Superior Court of California, and has been a guest on both locally and nationally syndicated talk radio shows.

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Law Offices of Daniel S. Williams
704 Forest Ave. Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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Contact Information

Law Offices of Daniel S. Williams

704 Forest Ave.
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Serving the Monterey Superior Court
1200 Aquajito Road
Monterey, CA 93940

.....and surrounding courthouses!

Phone: 831-233-3558
Fax: 831-233-3560

Business Hours:
Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

"Weekends: Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request"

We accept Visa.We accept MasterCard.We accept American Express.We accept Discover.


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