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California Child Custody



If parents in California cannot reach a custody decision, then the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child.

In most cases, California courts prefer to have parents share custody unless shared custody would be harmful to the child.

Both parents are bound by the California court's child custody order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk. Changing the custody order will require one or both parents to show that there has been a major change in circumstances and that it is to the child's detriment if custody is not changed.

A California child custody attorney can help represent you in court, help explain your legal options, and negtiate a child custody agreement.

California Paternity

In California, there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:

California Child Support

California child support is calculated based on how much time each parent cares for the child and each parent's net disposable monthly income. The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines if the calculation is inappropriate in a particular case.

In California, child support can also be adjusted based on a change in circumstances. These would include:

  • A significant change in one parent's income
  • A change in which parent the child spends more time with
  • A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)

Once the divorce has been granted, child support payments that are processed through the Department of Child Support Services can be set up online, making the process more convenient for both parties. If payment of child support becomes a problem, the Department of Child Support Services is responsible for child support enforcement.

Additional California Custody Resources