San Diego Child Custody Attorney  San Diego’s Family Law Experts®

San Diego Child Custody Lawyer

Aggressive Child Custody Attorneys in Del Mar & San Diego County

Child custody disputes are some of the most difficult legal battles a parent can face. Custody battles bear heavily on both of the parents and the children involved. 

Agreeing on a custodial arrangement or getting court-ordered custody is rarely simple, which is why it's important to have a qualified San Diego custody attorney from Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC by your side. Our custody lawyers in San Diego are ready to handle your unique situation.

With more than 200 years of collective legal experience, our child custody lawyers have the skill, knowledge, and determination to protect your rights. Whether you are seeking sole or joint custody or visitation rights, you can count on our firm to provide the seasoned representation you deserve.

San Diego child custody lawyers at Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC

Contact our San Diego child custody attorneys to arrange an initial consultation. We are ready to put our skills and experience to work for you! Call (858) 492-7968.


On This Page:


Types of Custody

There are two main types of custody in California - legal and physical. 

  • Physical Custody: This refers to where the child lives. In some cases this might include joint custody, with a child spending equal of specific amounts of time with each parent.
  • Legal Custody: This refers to the right to make decisions about the children. This can include school, religion and medical care. Again some parents light aid joint legal custody.

Additionally, child custody can be granted as either sole or joint custody. Sole custody means one parent has primary physical and legal custody of the child, while the other parent may have visitation rights. Joint custody means that both parents share physical and legal custody of the child, with each parent having roughly equal time with the child.

It's important to note that joint custody doesn't necessarily mean a 50/50 split of time with the child. Rather, joint custody refers to both parents sharing decision-making authority for the child and having significant time with the child.

Ultimately, the court's decision will be based on what is in the best interests of the child. It's important to work with an experienced family lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of California's child custody laws and fight for the custody arrangement that is best for you and your child.

"Best Interests of the Child" – How Is Child Custody Decided in San Diego?

When it comes to child custody cases, San Diego courts will always choose what they believe is in the best interest of the child. Forcing change upon a child is the last thing a judge wants to do. In some cases, where a child is 12 years of age or older, the court will ask the child who they would prefer to live with.

If the parents have been separated for a while before the divorce was filed, then the judge will usually maintain the status quo of the child custody arrangement. However, this decision will largely be made using the “best interest of the child” standard – whether that includes one or both parents.

Factors a judge may consider in a custody dispute include:

  • Health and safety
  • Emotional and psychological well-being
  • Parental capacity
  • Developmental needs
  • Continuity and stability
  • The child's wishes
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Co-parenting ability
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Domestic violence or abuse

There are some factors that judges will not consider. This includes the parents' moral character. The actions of one parent do not affect the decision unless their actions have a direct effect on the child. An affair, for example, would not be considered if the child never knew or does not understand.

Health and Safety

The child's health and safety are paramount. The court evaluates each parent's ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Factors such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or any history of child abuse can significantly impact the court's decision. A stable and secure living arrangement is a fundamental consideration when assessing the child's best interests.

Emotional and Psychological Well-being

A stable emotional and psychological environment is crucial for a child's healthy development. The court considers each parent's ability to provide emotional support, love, and stability. The child's attachment to each parent and their adjustment to potential changes in living arrangements are also taken into account. Additionally, the court may consider the child's relationship with other family members and the potential impact of a custody arrangement on those relationships.

Parental Capacity

The court evaluates the capacity of each parent to meet the child's needs. This includes assessing their ability to provide basic care, supervision, and guidance. Factors such as employment stability, financial resources, and parenting skills are examined. The court also takes into consideration any mental or physical health issues that may affect a parent's ability to care for the child.

Child's Developmental Needs

The court considers the child's age, developmental stage, and individual needs. What might be in the best interests of a toddler could differ significantly from what benefits a teenager. The child's education, extracurricular activities, and healthcare requirements are also taken into account. The court aims to create a custody arrangement that supports the child's growth and development.

Continuity and Stability

Consistency plays a pivotal role in a child's life. The court evaluates the potential disruption caused by changes in living arrangements, schools, and daily routines. Maintaining stability can be especially crucial during times of transition, such as divorce or separation. Minimizing disruptions helps the child feel secure and supported.

Child's Wishes

In many jurisdictions, the court considers the child's wishes, particularly if they are of a certain age and maturity level. While the child's preference isn't the sole determining factor, it can provide valuable insight into their feelings and desires. The court weighs the child's wishes against other relevant factors to make a balanced decision.

Parent-Child Relationship

The strength of the bond between the child and each parent is pivotal. The court assesses the quality of the relationship, including factors like communication, bonding, and mutual respect. Encouraging a healthy relationship with both parents is often a priority, unless circumstances suggest otherwise.

Co-Parenting Ability

The court takes into account each parent's willingness and ability to cooperate and co-parent effectively. The ability to communicate, make joint decisions, and support the child's relationship with the other parent is a significant factor. A parent's willingness to facilitate a positive co-parenting relationship can greatly influence the court's decision.

Cultural and Religious Considerations

The court respects the child's cultural and religious background. These factors can impact the child's identity, values, and sense of belonging. When determining the child's best interests, the court considers how the custody arrangement will accommodate and respect these important aspects of the child's life.

Domestic Violence or Abuse

If there is a history of domestic violence or abuse, the court prioritizes the safety and well-being of the child and the victimized parent. Courts take allegations of abuse seriously and may limit or restrict a parent's custody and visitation rights if there is evidence of harmful behavior.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Child Custody Case?

In short, yes – you should always hire a child custody lawyer who deals with child custody cases if you are in a custody battle. Custody cases are complex and involve the future well-being of your children. Don't take risks by trying to work out an agreement or fight for custody in court without an aggressive San Diego child custody attorney on your side.

How Do I Get Full Custody of My Child?

Getting full custody of your child requires you to prove to the court that it would be in your child’s best interests. In other words, a parent must show that them not having full custody would negatively affect their child.

Although the courts favor shared custody arrangements that allow the child to be raised by both parents, the courts will ultimately award custody to the parent or parents deemed most able to provide a stable environment for the child. In order to prove that you are best suited to have full custody, you need a custody lawyer that handles child custody cases, particularly with cases for full custody.

Enforce Child Custody in San Diego County

Is your child's other parent preventing you from exercising your joint custody rights? Perhaps you are a non-custodial parent with visitation rights, but are being barred from visiting your child by the custodial parent. In these cases, you can ask the court to enforce your child custody order in San Diego County.

Since child custody is court-ordered, failure to comply with the court order places the non-compliant parent in contempt of court. Contempt can lead to serious penalties, which is what makes enforcement effective.

If you need to enforce child custody, our local child custody lawyers in San Diego County can help! On the other hand, if you can no longer comply with a custody order due to a significant change in circumstances, like the need to relocate for work or due to financial constraints, then it is important to request modification of child custody as soon as possible before the other parent seeks to enforce custody. 

Find a Good Child Custody Lawyer in San Diego

The process of getting custody can be complicated, so finding the right local San Diego child custody attorneys near you is crucial. At Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC, our San Diego child custody lawyers are here to help you from start to finish.

Don’t settle for inexperienced legal counsel when you can hire a Board Certified Family Law Expert from our firm. Our lawyers for custody of children are backed by more than 200+ years of experience. When you choose to work with our child custody attorneys in San Diego, you can rest easy knowing your and your child’s needs will come first.

Contact Us Today So That a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer Near You Can Begin Working on Your Case!

Recommended Reading:

The MSM Difference

Award-Winning Family Law Experts

  1. Certified Ten of our attorneys have earned the distinction of certified family law specialist.
  2. Equipped Skilled in litigation and mediation, we are prepared to handle any type of divorce.
  3. Attentive We respond quickly to clients and ensure they are always informed about their case.
  4. Seasoned Our professionals have more than 200 years of combined family law experience.

Request a Consultation Today

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy

Meet Our Attorneys