San Diego Child Custody Lawyer

Finding Resolutions for Even the Most Complex Child Custody Cases in San Diego County

Establishing child custody and visitation can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. For many parents, this is the toughest of all the issues associated with separation, divorce, or paternity cases. While we generally believe we know what is best for our children, the turmoil of ending a marriage and/or facing a family law court issue can overcome reason and sound judgment on what is best for the child. The best interests of the child, as opposed to the desires of the parents, is the main consideration of the courts when it is left up to a judge to issue custody and visitation orders. 


At The Law Offices of Nadine M. Sayegh, we can provide expert assistance with this matter. Our attorney is not only a Certified Family Law Specialist per the California Bar but is also listed as a provider for alternative dispute resolution by the San Diego Family Law Bar Association, has served as a pro-tem judge in the courts facilitating mandatory settlement conferences, and is qualified to serve as a minor’s counsel. With years of intensive professional experience in these roles as well as representing parents in custody cases, our firm provides a level of rare proficiency and skill in resolving your parenting issues and disputes.

Custody & Visitation in California

Custody is broken down into two parts under California law. These are:


  • Legal custody. This grants a parent the right and authority to make major decisions concerning the child's life and activities, such as schooling, religion, health care, extra-curricular, and the like. This can be shared by both parents (joint) or granted to one parent only (sole).

  • Physical custody. This gives a parent the right to have the child reside with him or her. This can also be granted on a joint of sole basis. 


Joint physical custody does not always translate to equal time spent with each parent. The scheduled time will depend on the circumstances. A child may spend a larger block of time with one parent due to school or daycare considerations or based on a parent's work schedule. This parent is generally considered to be the "custodial" parent. However, both parents have custody and this is considered to be more than just "visitation."

Who Has the Right to Custody?

California family law lays out who has the right to custody. Both parents or either parent has this right with no preference under the law for or against joint or sole custody. The court is given broad discretion in determining the matter. 


You and the other parent can create your own custody and parenting plan through negotiation or mediation, have it written up into a formal agreement, and submit it to the court. Courts will generally accept such agreements as long as they support the child’s best interests. If you and the other parent cannot agree on the matter, the court may order you to participate in mediation or may appoint a minor’s counsel to act solely for the child’s benefit as his or her independent representative absent any parental influence.

How Do the Courts Decide Custody?

When it is left up to the courts to decide the issue of custody, judges will look at many factors relating to the family. These can include but are not limited to:


  • The age and health of the child

  • The nature of the relationship the child has had with both parents

  • The parenting ability of each party

  • The ages and health of the parents

  • How custody will impact the child's social and community connections, relationships with other siblings and extended family

  • A parent's history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, or criminal activity

  • Any other factor relevent to the case 

(858) 800-2991

10815 Rancho Bernardo Rd, Ste 205

San Diego, CA 92127

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