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Child Custody
Ryan Family Law

Child Custody
Ryan Family Law

Child Custody in San Diego: Protecting Your Family’s Best Interests

We understand the emotional weight and stress that child custody disputes can carry. That’s why at Ryan Family Law we are here to guide you through the legal process with your family’s best interests in mind.

Led by Paul J. Ryan, Esq., our experienced team of attorneys have a proven track record of success in these types of cases. You can rest assured knowing you are in good hands.

Image of little girl hugging teddy bear at office of family lawyer in a child custody matter - Ryan Family Law.

Understanding Child Custody in San Diego

In San Diego, child custody is typically decided by the court based on what is in the best interests of the child. Under California law, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to where the child will live.

Legal custody gives a parent the right to make major decisions relating to the child’s upbringing, such as their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Physical custody determines where the child will live.

Generally speaking, California courts favor joint custody arrangements whenever possible, so that both parents have frequent contact with their children. The court considers factors such as age, relationships between parents and children, and overall well-being to determine which arrangement is best for the child.

Types of Child Custody

There are different types of child custody arrangements that a court may order depending on the circumstances of each case. These include:

  • Sole custody: This is where one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child.
    • The other parent may be granted visitation rights, but does not have any decision-making authority.
  • Joint custody: This is where both parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child.
    • Both parents must work together to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing and well-being.
  • Split custody: This is where the parents have more than one child, and each parent has physical custody of at least one child.

What To Expect In Your Child Custody Case

When you enter a child custody case, the court’s primary goal is determining the best arrangement for your child. That can include assessing many factors related to both parents and their child, such as age, health, and welfare of the child; maturity level; existing relationships between each parent and the child; ability to provide care and emotional support; as well as any past or current abuse/neglect history. The court may also take into account other factors they deem relevant in making their decision.

At Ryan Family Law, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help you every step of the way and work hard to ensure that your family’s interests are protected.

How to Prepare for a Custody Case

If you’re in a custody dispute, it’s important to be ready for the case. Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of a good outcome:

  • First, hire an experienced family law attorney who specializes in custody cases.
  • Then, collect evidence that backs up your claims – like witness statements, medical records and school records.
  • Keep track of all the interactions you have with your child and any other parents involved in the dispute.
  • Be courteous and respectful during court-ordered evaluations or mediation sessions.
  • Finally, stay open to negotiation and compromise while still standing up for what’s best for your child.

Are you looking for legal help? Ryan Family Law is here to provide experienced guidance and make sure you have the resources and knowledge needed to get the best result in your case. Our team of attorneys are ready to assist you every step of the way.

How to Design a Comprehensive Parenting Plan in California

When parents decide to divorce or separate in California, they need to create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share custody and responsibility for their children. In 2019, California updated its standard parenting plan to provide more guidance and flexibility for parents.

What is California’s New Standard Parenting Plan?

California’s new standard parenting plan is a template that parents can use to create a parenting plan that is consistent with the state’s laws and best practices. The plan covers a wide range of issues, including:

  • Legal custody: whether one or both parents will have the right and responsibility to make important decisions for the child, such as education, healthcare, and religion.
  • Physical custody: where the child will live and when they will spend time with each parent.
  • Holidays and special occasions: how the parents will divide time with the child during holidays, birthdays, and other significant events.
  • Communication and cooperation: how the parents will communicate with each other and resolve conflicts regarding the child.
  • Child support: how much and how often one parent will pay the other to cover the child’s expenses.

The standard parenting plan is not mandatory, but it reflects the state’s preference for joint custody and shared parenting, unless there is a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or other factors that would make joint custody not in the child’s best interest.

Resolving Child Custody & Divorce Differences

Mediation is often the first step for resolving custody and divorce differences. In mediation, a meeting with a neutral party will most often take place to bridge the gap between both spouses concerning all aspects of a divorce, including the custody of children. The role of the mediator is to suggest solutions that help both sides create a collaborative custody agreement. If the mediation attempts fail, the case will end up in court for a judge to rule on the matter.

It is important to note that custody and a child support order are two different things. The parent who gets primary custody of a child will receive child support from the parent with whom the child does not live, also called a noncustodial parent.

A Lawyer Who Fights For San Diego Parents

In divorce cases involving children, custody and visitation can be a parent’s highest priority. At Ryan Family Law, we have a thorough understanding of child custody law, hearings and procedures. We can help you under the applicable California custody laws and represent your interests in the courtroom.

Working with a Skilled Family Law Attorney

If you are facing a custody dispute, it is essential to work with a skilled family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your children.

At our firm, we have extensive experience in handling complex custody cases and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and your child’s best interests. We will help you understand the legal process, gather evidence, and present your case in the most favorable light possible.

Do Not Wait To Schedule Your Free Consultation

You can contact Ryan Family Law now to start the process of defending your parental rights. We will provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your children.

Need legal help? – Contact Ryan Family Law Today

Need legal help? Ryan Family Law can assist you in getting the best outcome for your custody case. We have three office locations throughout San Diego County, and our founding attorney Paul J. Ryan, Esq., will help create a personalized strategy to advocate for your needs. You can take advantage of a free phone consultation with Paul by calling us at 858-222-6600 – he’s often able to schedule that same day. If you can’t call right now, feel free to use our fast and easy Contact Form to schedule your consultation.


I’ve been working with Paul Ryan on a difficult case for over a year and he has been a God-send. He is smart, personable, very down to earth and a fighter. I had two terrible experiences previously with different SD firms, and hiring Paul has been a welcome breath of fresh air. I would highly recommend Paul, especially for active duty military and veterans.

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