Orange County Child Custody Attorney Specialized in Mediation & Visitation Agreements

Child Custody and Visitation

Mediation or Litigation

When both parents are committed to the child’s best interests as well as an amicable solution, we highly recommend ironing out questions of child custody and visitation through divorce mediation. Not only is it less expensive than going to court, but it is also much less traumatic for both the parents and the children. However, if the parents can’t agree and there are concerning circumstances surrounding custody questions, we are just as willing to fight for your child’s well-being in court, if necessary.

In California, child custody and visitation rights can be one the most contentious among divorcing couples. Every custody case is different, and what is right for one family won’t be right for another. Our Orange County child custody attorney is here for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Resolving Disputes Creatively Can Save Time and Money

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Among the issues divorcing couples must work through, the question of child custody and visitation rights can be one the most contentious. Unfortunately, quite often the children are the ones who suffer most as they are frequently caught in the crossfire. At the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin, our family law attorney in Orange COunty is passionate about helping families iron out the challenges of child custody and visitation in a way that always looks to the best interests of the children first.

Child Custody and Visitation

Types of Custody

Regarding legal custody, there are two possible options:

  • Joint custody—in which both parents share in making decisions about the child’s upbringing; or
  • Sole custody—in which one parent has the right to make these decisions.

When discussing physical custody, joint custody refers to the child splitting time between the two parents, while sole custody means the child stays almost exclusively with one parent. There is a third option with physical custody, which is primary custody, in which the child lives with one parent and the other parent is afforded visitation rights. Schedule an appointment with our Orange County child custody lawyer today.

Child Custody and Visitation

Considerations with Custody and Visitation: Children First

As you can imagine from the options above, deciding on child custody cases and visitation rights in Orange County, California can be complex and challenging—even more so when emotions are running high. This is why we urge clients to look at the best interests of the children first when making these decisions.

Will the child thrive by splitting time between both parents? Is one parent more engaged, interested or emotionally stable than the other? Is one more qualified than the other to make tough decisions about the child’s welfare? Is there a history of drug use or domestic violence in the family?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Gets the Kids?

You and your spouse can either agree on a schedule or the court will make a decision about where the children go and when. The court’s decision will be based on ensuring the consistency and stability of the children typically referred to as “Best Interest of the Child”.

What Else Does the Court Consider in Making a Child Custody and Visitation Order?

The court may consider any factor it believes is relevant to the determination, but will most likely look at the amount of quality time each child spends with each parent, if there is any domestic violence involved in the matter, if there is any child abuse involved, who are the child or children bonded to and in who’s care do the children thrive.

How will I Know How Much the Court will Orer for Support?

There are two types of support; temporary support and permanent support. Both types of support include child support and spousal support. The purpose of temporary support is intended to maintain the status quo while the action is proceeding. Permanent support is intended to provide support for all times beyond the proceeding so that the children and the supported parent can continue to live in the same lifestyle as they did during the marriage. Start keeping a budget to help determine what that picture looks like now represented in financial terms.

Types of Custody

In Orange County, CA, if you’re in the middle of a divorce, you may not have given much thought to the different kinds of custody. While these options may not be at the forefront of your mind, they are extremely important. It’s easy to only consider what you want, what will be the fairest, or even what will hurt the other parent. It’s crucial that your thinking shifts to determining what is best for the children.

Legal experts and child custody lawyers use certain terminology to describe the different kinds of child custody cases. Understanding the custody options is indispensable when dealing with these terms.

Legal Custody

When someone has legal custody, they have the legal authority to make significant decisions for and on behalf of the child. These kinds of decisions might include where the kids go to school, religious upbringing, non-emergency medical decisions, and so on.

Sole Legal Custody is when a single parent has the authority to make legal decisions. The other parent might still be involved in the child’s life, but does not have legal authority on the kid’s when a single parent has the authority to make legal decisions. The other parent might still be involved in the child’s life, but does not have legal authority on the kid’s behalf.

Joint Legal Custody means that both parents have the authority to make legal decisions for a child. In an ideal world, parents would work together to make decisions on behalf of the kids. It’s also worth noting that parents can share legal custody without necessarily sharing physical custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, sometimes called residential custody, refers to where children live most of the time.

Sole Physical Custody is when the child physically resides in one location. The other parent may be awarded visitation rights or even the ability to have the child sleepover.
Joint Physical Custody has a number of different names: shared custody, shared parenting, or dual residence, to name a few.

Under this arrangement, children live with one parent for part of the week or year and then live with the other for the remaining time. While the goal is often to have equal time with each parent, some cases will have a different outcome. The specific schedule that parents create has a tremendous amount of flexibility, but can also be strictly ordered by the court.

Bird’s Nest Custody is when the children live in a single location, and the parents rotate in and out. Instead of the kids going back and forth between mom and dad’s house, they stay put. For example, mom may live with the kids Sunday through Wednesday, and dad lives with them Thursday through Saturday.

Some like this approach since it means less moving around for the kids, but it can also be difficult to maintain for the adults.


If one of the parents does not have physical custody, they are often allowed visitation rights. This ensures that both parents get to be part of the children’s lives.

Unsupervised Visitation is the most common type of visitation. This allows the non-custodial parent (the parent with whom the kids do not live) are permitted to take the children on an outing away from their primary residence. This could include staying over for a night or just away for the day.

There might be limitations set on duration or distance of time away. For example, if the mother is breastfeeding, the non-custodial parent may not be able to take the baby away from the mother’s house until they are able to take a bottle.

Supervised Visitation means that another responsible adult must be present when the non-custodial parent is visiting. The situation and court-order will dictate if the non-custodial parent gets to select the supervisor. In other situations, the meeting must take place in a specific location so that an appointed social worker can be present.

Virtual Visitation is when visitation takes place over video-conferencing applications. While this may not be ideal in some situations, it can be a reasonable option when parents live far apart, or something else prohibits physical visitation.


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