Child Custody


Child Custody

Custodial rights of children during marriage are exercised by both parents. They will share all decision making concerning how the child is raised, religious affiliation, and education of the child or children. Once divorce or separation enters the picture, however, the custodial rights generally are given to one parent. Even though the mother has traditionally been given custodial rights of minor children in the past, more recent legal proceedings have given these rights to the father. At Panagopoulos Embry, P.C., we understand the San Diego Family Laws governing child custody and can help you through the legal proceedings.

The California Court is concerned with two types of custody in any child custody dispute:

  1. Physical custody – the parent with whom the child / children will live. Physical custody can be joint or sole.
  2. Legal custody – the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child / children’s physical care, support, education, and other rights.

California courts use the “best interest” standard when determining custody arrangements. This means the judge will determine what he or she believes to be in the best interest of the child when making a legal determination. If you do not understand, or have questions about anything pertaining to your Child Custody case, our Beverly Hills and San Diego Family Law Specialists can provide the help you need.

Before the court will hold a custody or visitation hearing, the parties must first go to Family Court Services, or FCS, Mediation. This is where the parties go over their concerns with a mediator and try to come up with an agreement on the custody arraignment. If no agreement is reached, the mediator issues a recommendation to the court. San Diego County is a “recommending county.” This simply means that the FCS mediator gives the recommendation to the judge. The judges generally rely on this recommendation. For this reason, it is imperative that you do well in mediation. Custody battles are often won or lost in mediation. Our office will make sure you are thoroughly prepared for mediation by sending a licensed San Diego Family Law attorney to help you prepare.

Move-Away Hearings

Most custody arrangements restrict parents from moving out of the county. Move-away cases are complex and involve a variety of factors. These factors are outlined in In re Marriage of LaMusga (2004) 32 C.4th 1072.  The complexity of these cases make it difficult to win move-away cases, especially if a party is unrepresented.

As with any San Diego Family Law case, we cannot stress how important it is that individuals seek legal counsel when attempting to move with their child. Our experienced attorneys have a record of success related with various move-away matters.