LKG - Leigh K. Galyon, APC

Protecting Your Family's Best Interests Since 2003

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Analytical Advocates Dedicated To Protecting Your Rights As A Parent

When children are involved in a family legal matter, you naturally want to keep them as safe and guarded as possible. Divorce often creates confusing lines for mothers and fathers navigating complex custody battles, but rest assured that both the mother and the father have an equal right to their child. In fact, California law believes it best for both parents to maintain a strong presence in their child’s life.

With over 25 years of experience assisting parents in the San Diego area, our attorneys have assisted clients with a myriad of child custody and support concerns. We have seen nearly every shade of custody arrangement (and disagreement), so we are well-equipped to handle your parental dispute deftly. Whether you have questions about your rights as a mother or father or have concerns about your visitation rights, we can help you.

Protecting The Rights Of Mothers And Fathers

California law establishes that both parents have the right to seek custody and visitation rights with their child. The child’s mother and father are treated equally with equal rights; the mother does not have more of a right to the child than the father. The court will rely primarily on the “best interests of the child” to make custody and visitation decisions. The court generally presumes that involvement from both parents is ideal for the child unless there is evidence of abuse or violence that threatens the child’s physical and emotional well-being.

While mothers have been historically granted custody in most cases, be aware that both the mother and father are evaluated on a level playing field. The court will examine both parents’ abilities to care for and provide for the child, as well as the relationship between the child and each parent, to make the final decision. The primary custodian (the parent with whom the child spends the majority of the time) – whether the mother or the father – has a right to seek child support. Recall that child support is paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to help with the financial responsibilities of raising the child, such as medical, educational and living costs.

Understanding Visitation Rights

Parents not granted custody are entitled right to visitation (“timesharing”). More specifically, visitation is granted to a parent who has the children less than half the time. Visitation orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children and the situation of the parents.

California offers several different types of visitation:

  • Scheduled visitation – Parents and courts will come up with a visitation schedule detailing the dates and times that the children will be with each parent. Schedules can include holidays, special occasions (birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) and vacations.
  • Reasonable visitation – These orders are open-ended (without a detailed schedule) and allow the parents to work out a schedule between them. This type of plan can work if parents get along well and can communicate well with one another.
  • Supervised visitation – The children’s safety and well-being require that visits with the other parent be supervised. This is sometimes also used in cases where a child and a parent need time to become more familiar with one another.

In cases when visiting with a parent, even under supervision, would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children, visitation may be denied because it is not in the best interests of the child.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Rights

If you have questions about your rights as a parent in San Diego, contact Leigh K. Galyon, APC. Contact us online or call 619-573-6125 to discuss your concerns with one of our experienced family law attorneys.