Child Custody Attorney: Legal Custody, Physical Custody, Shared Custody, Parenting Time​

If you are going through a divorce, legal separation, or annulment and have children, you will want to create a parent plan that outlines child custody and visitation. A good parenting plan is a foundation to help families steer clear from conflict.  Kara S. Holtz believes a poorly defined parenting plan can lead to conflict which is why it is so important to spend the time to work out details.  If you cannot come up with such a plan on your own or with the help of a child custody lawyer, you can always have a child custody hearing where a judge will decide on the custody arrangement and visitation (if custody is not shared).

Types of Custody: What You Need to Know

There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody outlines who the children will physically stay with. Physical custody can either be joint or shared.  

Legal custody outlines who makes decisions for the children’s wellbeing (i.e. health, education, etc.). Again, like with physical custody, legal custody can also either be joint or shared custody.

Joint Custody & Other Assumptions

Even when physical custody is 100% joint, it does not mean children spend exactly half of their time with one parent and exactly half of the time with the other parent (because reasonably time will not be exact).

Another assumption some parents may make is, since many times the judge will also provide a child support order along with the child custody order that the two are not mutually exclusive. If the parent responsible for paying child support does not pay, the other parent may believe they are legally capable of restricting him or her from seeing the child.

This will only lead to a confusion and possibly even legal ramifications. Please know that even if the parent is not paying child support as ordered, he or she can still see the child as instructed by the child custody order.


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Parenting Time: The Ins and Outs

In the case that there is not joint custody, the other parent has visitation, otherwise known as parenting time. As you may know, there are several types of visitation:

  • Visitation according to schedule: Parents have a schedule of when visitation occurs to minimize any arguing.
  • Reasonable visitation: unlike visitation according to schedule, reasonable schedule is not as detailed. Days to visit are more casually created.
  • Supervised visitation: the parent may visit the child although always supervised
  • No supervision: the parent is not legally allowed visitation rights. The court made this decision determining that it is in the best interest of the child’s emotional and physical wellbeing

Modification of Child Custody Orders

As with child support orders, child custody orders can change based on changing circumstances. For a change to occur, one parent must file a modification order. Please know that the original order is still in full effect up until the judge signs the new order (if he or she does).

Child Custody Lawyers

Navigating the ins and outs of child custody is complicated, to say the least. For legal support in Northern California, from San Rafael to Redwood City, contact Kara S. Holtz, experienced child custody attorney. You may also call Holtz Law at (451)-785-4129 (North Bay Office) or (650)-632-4380 (South Bay Office).