Child Custody

In a California divorce, there are two types of custody to be decided: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody is defined by which parent is making the primary decisions regarding the child’s health and welfare. Physical custody is where and with whom the children reside.

California statues promote that children have equal relations with both parents. Even is one parent has primary custody (as defined by the child staying with that parent over 50% of the time) the judge will allow the non-custodial parent to have adequate visitation. California’s laws tend to prefer joint physical custody, so that the children have equal time with each parent. Sole physical custody is unusually only ordered in the most specific of circumstances.

There are many benefits to negotiating a parenting arrangement. The reason being that you know what is best for your child and your individual schedules. Because of this, most judges usually prefer that the parents decide on their own parenting agreement and will not interfere unless there is are problems between the parties. In cases where the parents cannot agree on custody and visitation arrangements, the court will order custody and a visitation and holiday schedule.

If for any reason, after a divorce, there needs to be a change to custody, the parent can petition the court for a change, but the change will only be ordered if it is in the “best interest of the children.”


My name is Angela Park from South Korea.

In the beginning of my divorce resolution, I hired a Korean attorney because it would be easier for me to communicate with Koreans considering my first language is Korean. However, from time to time, I noticed that the Korean lawyer had a lack of experience in the field; therefore, I had to find a more professional lawyer.

I came to know Mr. Scott and his firm through an internet search and saw the advertisement that said he would care about his clients sincerely, but I did not take it too seriously.

My ex-husband’s attorney humiliated and insulted me with ridiculous accusations.I was very frustrated about my case and the international move away motion.

Many times, Mr. Scott assured me that I would be able to move back to Korea without a single bad word about my ex-husband, but I came to doubt if it would be really possible in that way while I felt that I should defend myself.

Believe it or not, as he told me, his strategy really did succeed in that way in a gentle manner, but very powerful without hurting either side.

I can speak various impressive comments about his talent, strong speech with arguments, much experience and knowledge as well as a great sense of humor, but for me, the most impressive thing about him was that he really got the heart for you.

Mr. Scott, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Botros, I really appreciate your international humanism and remarkable work!

– Angela Parker

저는 한국에서 온 안젤라 박입니다.

처음 이혼소송을 시작할때, 의사소통의 어려움때문에 한국인 변호사를 선임했습니다.

그러나 시간이 지날수록 그 변호사님이 이 분야엔 전혀 경험이 없다는 것을 알게되서 가정법/이혼 전문 변호사를 찾아야 했습니다.

인터넷 웹사이트에서 제임스 스콧 로펌의 제임스 스콧변호사님은 고객을 진심으로 대한다는 광고를 보고는 조금 과장된게 아닌가 싶었지만, 이분야에서 꽤 알려진 전문가 같았습니다.

저의 전 남편과 그의 변호사가 말도안되는 비난과 주장으로 저를 욕보이고 모욕감을 줄때마다 정말 치욕스럽고 그런 남자랑 결혼한 것이 너무 부끄러웠습니다. 저는 아이와 한국으로 이사가는 문제와 이혼과정에 대해 너무 불만스러웠습니다.

스콧변호사님께서는 여러번 저에게 전 남편에 대해 나쁜점을 폭로하지 않아도 아이와 함께 한국으로 돌아갈 수 있다고 확실하게 말씀해 주셨는데도 불구하고, 저는 과연 그런 점잖은 방법으로 이 문제들이 해결 될 수 있을까 의심이 들었습니다.

정말 신기하게도, 변호사님께서 말씀하신대로 상대의 비방없이 신사적인 방법으로 아이와 함께 한국으로 돌아 갈 수 있게 됬습니다.

저는 변호사님의 여러가지 인상깊었던 일처리 능력과 실력에 대해 자랑할 수 있지만, 제가 여기서 가장 강조하고 싶은것은 제임스 스콧변호사님은 외국인이어도 차별없이, 또 차별받지 않도록- 열과 성을 다하여 재판에서 이길 수 있도록 이끌어 주신다는 점입니다.

2012년 7월 24일

재판에서 승리한후……

Child Custody & Visitation

Child custody and visitation issues oftentimes become a point of contention between divorcing parents. The California courts will determine child custody and visitation based upon the best interests of the child and typically consider the following points;

  • What is the level of conflict between the divorcing couple and who is their an initiator of the conflict?
  • Which parent is more likely to supports a meaningful relationship between the non custodial parent and the children?
  • What is the nature of the relationship of the children with the parents?
  • What is the level of cooperation between the parents in order to meet the needs of the child?

Child Custody Tips

  • Be involved in your child’s life. Courts want to see that you are part of the child’s life; school, sports, doctor visits, etc. If you are not involved in your child’s life it will be tough to obtain custody.
  • Do not you insult your ex-spouse? When determining custody, a court will consider whether a parent promotes or prevents the other parent’s relationship with the children.
  • Be flexible with visitation. Try to accommodate the other parent if they would like to switch a day or weekend. Courts like parents who foster cooperation.
  • Courts generally are very opposed to the children knowing the details of your divorce issues. Do not explain to your children the legal issues and stick to simply explanations of the relationship changes between you and your ex spouse
  • Where does the child want to live? This may be a factor with the court, but do not coach the child one way or another.
  • Are you concerned with the other parent receiving custody? Is there alcohol, drugs, violence, or multiple romantic relationships involved? Be prepared to provide evidence and keep track of events that the court should know.

Helping Fight for Custody Modifications

One of the most difficult issues that’s resolved during any California divorce case is that which involves child custody if there were children of the marriage. This decision can lead to emotional devastation for the parent who is not awarded primary custody, and unfortunately many parents who are not awarded custody think that there is nothing that can be done and that this decision is permanent.

Simply put, this is not an accurate belief. Parents who are concerned about their children and who want to fight for their rights and for the interests of those children should seek the immediate help of experienced San Diego child custody lawyers. Below is a brief introduction to this issue.

The Standards for California Child Custody Modification

As is the case with just about every issue that can arise in California family law, the court will use legal standards to make decisions regarding the modification of child custody. One standard that’s used is the same as what was used to make the original custody decision – the best interests of the child. In addition, if a parent makes a motion to modify a child custody order, the moving parent must show the court that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred.

What Constitutes a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

There are many different examples that could lead a court to find that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Perhaps the most common basis for such a motion is that the custodial parent is not serving the child’s best interests. Specifically, this can mean that the custodial parent is not acting in a responsible manner, is not making sure that the child’s educational, nutritional, medical or social needs and development are being met and that the child needs to live with the other parent to reverse this trend.

In addition, a substantial change in circumstances can involve the custodial parent wanting to move away from the non-custodial parent, a change in the work schedule or occupation of one of the parents, a change in the child’s preference or some other life change that could alter the original child custody decision that was made.

Call For A Consultation With Our Family Law Attorneys

If you are facing issues that involve child custody, you likely have rights that are spelled out in the California statutes. Rather than attempt to analyze these issues yourself and present them to the court, turn to our San Diego child custody lawyers. Schedule a consultation by calling us at 858-974-4900, or contact us online. Credit cards are accepted.

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