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When a court addresses the issue of custody, the law requires that the court's decision be based on a standard called "the best interest of the children." This standard gives the court broad discretion in making decisions. While the court will consider what each parent wants, parental preferences will not control the court’s decision as the court must view its decision through what is best for the child and not the parents.

When considering the issue of child custody, it is important to understand that there are two types of custody in regards to children, namely, legal and physical custody. Legal custody means that a parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and welfare. Under sole legal custody, one parent has primary control over these decisions where in cases of joint legal custody both parents will equally share this decision making. Joint legal custody is often ordered in cases even where there is no joint physical custody, as described below.

Physical custody refers to how much time the children will spend with each parent physically. If a parent has primary physical custody, this means that one parent has a substantially greater amount of time than the other parent. There can be joint physical custody and primary physical custody (sometimes referred to as sole physical custody). A joint physical custody situation is where each parent has significant periods of physical custody. It is important to understand that joint physical custody does not require an exact 50/50 arrangement, and parents who may have 40% may be considered by the court as a joint physical parent. In cases where one parent does not have a significant amount of custody, they are often referred to as a non-custodial parent. In such cases, the concept of "frequent and continuing contact" is very important for the non-custodial parent to maintain a relationship with the child. In cases where children must move away a distance where weekend visitation is not feasible, a strong visitation schedule is relied upon where the non-custodial parent will enjoy much more of the bulk visitation during the children’s larger vacation periods during the year.

At the Law Office of A. Stephen Rocha, we are there to meet a parent's needs and wishes in addressing the issue of custody and visitation. We will strongly fight for a parent's right to ask for primary custody or joint physical custody. In cases where a move-away is at issue, we help focus on the bond between a non-custodial parent and the child at issue in order to fight move-away request by the custodial parent. If the custodial parent does move away, we try to get the non-custodial parent as much of a timeshare as possible with that child based on the bulk vacation period set forth below.

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We help in matters involving in providing lawyer representation in San Diego regarding: Family Law Appeals, Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage), Paternity, Prenuptual Agreement and Postnuptual Agreement, Sole Physical Child Custody, Joint Physical Child Custody, Sole Legal Custody, Joint Legal Custody, and Child Visitation, Child Support, Spousal Support, Support Garnishment Orders, Support Wage Assigment Orders, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Separate Property Characterization, Community Property Division, Military Divorce, Division of Retirements including Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Flat Fee Divorce, Flat Rate Divorce, Affordable Divorce, Low Cost Divorce, Cheap Divorce, Prepaid Divorce, Paralegal Divorce Services, and Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships.

The Law Office of A. Stephen Rocha represents clients throughout San Diego County, including: Allied Gardens, Alpine, Barrio Logan, Bankers Hill, Bay Park, Bonsail, Camp Pendleton, Carmel Valley, Carlsbad, Centre City, Chula Vista, City Heights, Clairemont, Clairemont Mesa, Coronado, Crown Point, Del Cerro, East County, El Cajon, East Elliot, East San Diego, Encanto, Escondido, Encinitas, Golden Hill, Grantville, Hillcrest, Kearny Mesa, Kensington, La Jolla, La Jolla Shores, La Mesa, La Playa, Linda Vista, Logan Heights, Loma Portal, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Miramar Ranch, Mission Beach, Mission Hills, Mission Valley, National City, Normal Heights, North Clairemont, North County, North Park, Oak Park, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Old Town, Pacific Beach, Peninsula, Point Loma, Poway, Ramona, San Diego, Scripps Ranch, Serra Mesa, Sorrento Valley, South Bay, South Park, Talmadge, Tierrasanta, University City, University Heights, and Vista.

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