Child Custody and Visitation
Parents that separate will need to have a plan for deciding how their children will be cared for and where they will live or spend time. Sometimes parents can agree to a parenting plan, and other times they need the help from the court to come up with a plan that is in the best interest of their children.
There are two kinds of child custody:
Legal custody: which means who makes important decisions for your children (like health care, education, and welfare)
Physical custody: which means who your children live with.
In every child custody case, child support must be addressed; even if that means child support is set at $0.00; it must be specified in your order. Keep in mind that a child support order is separate from child custody and visitation order; so you cannot refuse to let the other parent see the children just because he or she is not making the child support payments that the court ordered. And you cannot refuse to pay child support just because the other parent is not letting you see your children. But child support and custody are related because the amount of time each parent spends with the children will affect the amount of child support.
If there is a custody and support order in place, and the other parent is not abiding by the order, then you will need to take that parent back to court to either modify the order to reflect the current situation -OR- to enforce the previous order by way of wage garnishment.
If either parent has an active case with the county (by way of food stamps, medi-cal, cash aid, etc...) of which either parent lives in, then the custody and support order must be signed off by the county before it can be filed with the court for the superior judge to sign.