Family law covers a broad range of legal issues with the potential to affect many people. However, there are terms that you should know when it comes to family law proceedings. This blog lists some significant key terms used throughout the practice of family law in California.

Joint Legal Custody

Under California Family Code § 3003, “joint legal custody” means “that both parents shall share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.” A child custody arrangement that provides joint legal custody requires the authorization of both parents for things like medical treatment and waivers for school events and extracurricular activities.

Sole Legal Custody

Pursuant to California Family Code § 3006, “sole legal custody” refers to situations where “one parent shall have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.”

Joint Physical Custody

California Family Code § 3004 defines “joint physical custody” to mean “that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way so as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents.” Courts typically award joint physical custody when both parents are geographically close to each other, so that dividing the child’s time between them is practical. The law presumes that a joint physical custody arrangement serves the best interests of the child.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody” means “that a child shall reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to order visitation,” under California Family Code § 3007. A court will fashion a sole physical custody order when it is impractical for the parents to satisfy the terms of a joint physical custody order, or if the noncustodial parent has difficulty coordinate with the other parent and demonstrates “flakey” behavior when it comes to appointments with the children.

Ex Parte Proceedings

Ex parte” proceedings refer to court proceedings where it is not necessary for both parties to be present for the court to issue a judgment or order. Such proceedings are typically reserved for emergency situations, and the resulting orders are temporary. In such cases, the court has the authority to make temporary orders affecting an absent party if imminent harm would occur in the time it would take to provide them with notice and a hearing.

Eventually, the opposing party would get an opportunity to argue against the court’s order, but only after such an order was first issued. If the opposing party is successful, the court will terminate or modify its original order.

The following are typical ex parte proceedings in a family law case:

Support Arrears or Arrearages

Arrears” or “arrearages” refers to unpaid spousal or child support that has already come due. If the total child or spousal support arrearages exceeds a certain amount, the party to whom payment was owed may seek enforcement of the spousal or child support order by garnishing the noncompliant spouse’s wages or by imposing fees and even jail time in proceedings involving contempt of court.

Call Moshtael Family Law for More Legal Information

Family law disputes can be challenging to deal with, absent legal experience and training. At Moshtael Family Law, our legal team has the knowledge and skill to help you through various legal matters concerning California family law.

Please call Moshtael Family Law at (714) 909-2561 or contact us online today.

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