Understanding Family Court Orders in California


You and your partner have decided to part ways, but the split is far from being black and white. Because you share children, you will have to navigate issues such as child custody, child visitation, and child support in San Diego. Fortunately, that’s where I, attorney Michael C. MacNeil, can help. I can help you to navigate the complex San Diego Family Court system with my family court services in California.

Child Custody Orders

In San Diego, two types of custody exist: physical custody and legal custody. With physical custody, your children reside with you. Meanwhile, legal custody refers to who will make important decisions concerning your children, such as their welfare, education, and health care. Both physical custody and legal custody can be either joint or sole custody.

Physical Custody

With joint physical custody, your children will live with you as well as the other party. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to split 50% of their time between you. Instead, they may be with either you or the other party more depending on the circumstances. The person who predominantly gets the children may be deemed the parent with primary custody.

Meanwhile, with sole physical custody, your children will reside with just you or the other parent. The party who isn’t given physical custody of the children may still receive visitation rights (more on this later).

Legal Custody

With joint legal custody, both you and the other parent share the responsibility and right to make critical decisions concerning your children. Note that even if a parent is not given physical custody of the children, he or she may still receive joint legal custody of them. Of course, with sole legal custody, just one parent is permitted to make these decisions.

An order from the court will specify the custody arrangement that the judge overseeing your family law case has decided is most appropriate given the circumstances surrounding your case. Family court services provided through an attorney can help you to pursue the outcome you desire when dealing with custody in San Diego.

Visitation Orders

In your custody order, a judge will also spell out how visitation is to be handled in your situation based on what is in your children’s best interests. In general, it is best for you to have a detailed visitation plan/schedule to prevent confusion and conflicts. This schedule should take into consideration special occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, and vacations.

However, in some cases, supervised visitation is required to protect the children. Either a friend/ family member may provide this supervision, or an agency must be paid to provide it. If an agency will be used, the visitation order should spell out how these fees will be paid.

Child Support Orders

A judge may further issue a child support order stating how much a parent is required to make child support payments, when, and how often. These payments are designed to cover expenses linked to the children, such as shelter, clothing, food, medical costs, and educational expenses.

The child support amount to be paid will mostly depend on both parents’ net incomes each month, as well as the quantity of children they have together. This support must typically be paid until the children reach 18 years old.

Child support can be a contentious area of family law. For this reason, it is important that you take advantage of an attorney’s family court services when tackling this matter in San Diego.

Contempt of a Court Order in California

Each of the court orders mentioned above are enforceable by the family law court that issued them and, if necessary, by the law. Unfortunately, the other parent in your case may still choose to be in contempt of your child custody court order in California, for example, meaning that they violated the court order willfully.

If you believe that the other party has violated one of your orders, you will have to demonstrate this. Fortunately, this is something that the family court services provided by an attorney can help you to do.

It’s important to note that contempt of court is considered to be a misdemeanor conviction. Thus, the penalty can include monetary fines and as many as six months behind bars.

Protect Your Rights with the Help of Michael C. MacNeil’s Family Court Services Today

Perhaps you need help addressing family law issues in the San Diego Family Court setting prior to the issuing of a court order. Or, maybe your co-parent has violated an existing child custody, visitation, or support order. In these situations, you have the right to seek the best outcome possible for you through the civil court system.

With my extensive experience with delivering family court services, I will take the necessary steps to protect your rights in California. You can rest assured that you will receive my full attention, as I am committed to delivering the results you desire and are entitled to.

Get in touch with me today to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your case. Through my family court services, we’ll work together to make sure that your and your children’s best interests are protected going forward.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.