Family & Children's Law Center

Child Custody

Child custody.

Parents who live apart will need to have a plan for how they will share and divide their parenting responsibilities. This plan can be called a parenting plan, a time-share plan, or a child custody and visitation agreement. Any plan must be in writing and signed by both parents and a judge.

In California, either parent may have custody, or the parents may share custody. The judge makes the final decision but usually will approve the arrangement both parents agree upon. If the parents can't agree, the judge will make a decision at a court hearing. The judge will usually not make a decision about custody and visitation until after the parents have met with a Child Custody Recommending Counselor at the Court's Family Court Services' office.

FACLC helps clients file Requests for Orders (papers to obtain court hearings) for new or modified custody or visitation orders.