CHILD CUSTODY: Parenting Plans Enforcement Family Court

Manhattan Beach, CA Child Custody Law

Manhattan Beach, California 90266

What Manhattan Beach, CA Residents Need To Know About How to Get Custody of a Child

Welcome to the fastest and easiest way to find out about child custody law in California.

How to approach your child custody question depends on your personal circumstances. Most people find themselves wrestling with issues of parental responsibility at the time of a divorce from the child’s other parent. But child custody concerns arise in many other circumstances as well—for example, if a child’s parents never married or if a grandparent or other family member has concerns about a child’s wellbeing.



Here, you'll find clear and accurate information about how to get custody of a child, including:

To start, here are some important things to keep in mind if you find yourself facing a possible child custody fight: 



What Is the California Best Interest of the Child Standard?

California courts use the "best interest of the child" standard to make child custody decisions. Specifically, judges refer to Section 3011 of the California Family Code which directs them to consider the following factors:

  • the health, safety, and welfare of the child
  • any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody
    the nature and amount of contact with both parents
  • illegal or excessive drug or alcohol use, and
  • any other factors the court finds relevant. more...  

Who Claims a Child on Taxes After a Custody Case?

When parents divorce or separate, the law allows only one of them to claim their child as a tax dependent. The question of who gets the tax credits is more important than ever since the American Rescue Plan increased child tax credits in 2021.

By default, the IRS gives the right to claim the child tax credit to the custodial parent—that is, the parent with whom the child lives for more than half of the year. But there are ways to change the default rule and give child-related tax benefits to the non-custodial parent.

In this article, you'll learn:


Can You Change Child Support Payment Amounts By Moving to a Different State?

A 2019 study showed that child support payment amounts vary dramatically from state to state. A parent in one state may pay or receive up to three times as much as a parent in an identical situation who lives in another state—and the differences don’t depend on the cost of living.

Given this, a parent might reasonably wonder whether it would be possible to get a lot more child support—or pay a lot less—by moving to the state next door. For better or worse, it’s not that easy.


How Does Child Custody Work in California?

If you’re confused about the different types of child custody and how they work, you’re not alone. Here, we’ll demystify some of the basic terms and concepts you need to know when you’re trying to create a good parenting plan, focusing on what it means to share custody of your kids.

To start, let’s look at the two basic legal elements of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is all about where your children live. You and your children’s other parent may share physical custody or just one of you may get physical custody. The legal term for sharing is joint physical custody. If the kids live with just one parent, that’s called sole physical custody.


How to Enforce a Child Custody Order in California

Your options for enforcing a child custody agreement depend on whether a court approved your plan. If a judge issued or approved your custody agreement, it has the strength of a court order. That means the agreement is legally binding on both parents and violations will be easier to prove, correct, and sometimes even punish.

Enforcement If You Don’t Have a Court Order

Without a court order, police or the courts can enforce your custody agreement only if you believe your child is in immediate danger. If that is ever the case, don’t wait to call the local police or the child abduction unit at the county district attorney’s office.


Get California Parenting Plan and Agreement Help

Here are five places you can turn for help creating a child custody and visitation agreement in California.

Your lawyer or a legal aid representative. This one’s obvious, but if you have a lawyer (whether paid or volunteer) that should be the first person you turn to for guidance on creating your parenting agreement. If you need help finding legal assistance, see How to Find a Child Custody Lawyer in California.

Mediation. A skilled child custody mediator can help with everything from living arrangements and visitation schedules to decision-making responsibilities and financial agreements. A mediator’s job is to help you explore all the options and settle on the best solutions for all involved, especially the kids. Here are several ways to find a qualified mediator:


How to Find a California Child Custody Lawyer

There are many legal matters you can handle on your own, but a child custody fight is probably not one of them. First, the stakes are high for all involved—especially for the children. Second, California child custody laws and procedures are complex and it’s tough to handle complexity under stress. Mistakes may lead to confusing, expensive, and unhappy outcomes.

We don’t say these things to scare you. Our intention is to underscore reality and to encourage you to ask for help. Even if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer outright, you may be able to find free or low-cost legal assistance. At the very least, you can take advantage of the increasing number of custody self-help resources offered by local courts.