In California, there are 2 types of child custody, legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows both parties to be involved in major decisions such as those involving healthcare, education and religion. In addition, legal custody allows the parties to have access to medical and school records. Most couples agree to shared legal custody.  The other kind of custody is physical custody and is the one that is most often disputed. The minor child or children primarily reside with the parent who has physical custody and that parent makes the day-to-day decisions for the children.
Sometimes the parents agree to joint physical custody wherein the child will live ½ time with one parent and the other ½ with the other parent. However, most of the time, the child lives primarily with one parent and the other parent gets visitation.
What to file depends on whether you are married or not.  If you are not married and you have children, you will need to file a Paternity Action which establishes the father and addresses custody, visitation and support for the child.  If you are married and do not wish to file for divorce or legal separation, then you could file a petition for custody, visitation and support of children. If either parent  files for divorce or legal separation, then an Order to Show Cause could be filed for temporary custody, visitation and support orders.  A California family law lawyer could prepare the petition, Order to Show Cause or the Paternity Action depending on what is needed.

If there are prior orders with the courts and either parent wishes to request a change to the existing orders, he/she can do this by filing an Order to Show Cause.  This order would explain the reason for the requested change.  A reason for a request to change the existing child custody order might be the need to move away, an incarceration or a change in the behavior of a parent.  A California or Los Angeles Family Law attorney would advise you as to your legal options.

If you have questions about child custody, call Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES @ 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444) or visit our website: .

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