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Child Custody
and Visitation

When it comes to safeguarding the best interests of your child through child custody and visitation arrangements, Olsen & Olsen Attorneys at Law in Torrance stands as your reliable legal ally. Our dedicated team specializes in all areas of Family Law, ensuring compassionate and strategic advocacy for you and your family.

Child Custody in California

As children are our legacy, custody issues are generally the most important and contentious issues facing parties when relationships fail.


In California, custody and visitation arrangements are determined based on the best interests of the child. When parents separate or divorce, they may establish a parenting plan that addresses both legal custody and physical custody, as well as visitation schedules. Courts will award physical and legal custody to one or both of the parents.


Establishing paternity is essential in custody cases where the parties were not married. Read more on paternity here.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions about the child's upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, and general welfare.

What are your options?

Legal custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or sole (vested in one parent). Joint legal custody is common unless circumstances indicate that it is not in the child's best interests.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody refers to the actual living arrangements of the child. It involves where the child will live and how time will be divided between the parents.

What are your options?

Physical custody can be joint (shared) or sole (one parent has primary physical custody). Physical custody can have a variety of different plans and time distributions to work with the best interest of the child and to work with the parents' schedules.

How Do Courts Determine Custody and Visitation Schedules?

The guiding principle in custody and visitation decisions in California is the best interests of the child. Courts consider factors such as the child's age, health, relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse. A restraining order can have major impacts on custody, read more on restraining orders here.

Courts will sometimes order a minor's counsel to represent the interests of the child or children. They may also order a Parenting Plan Assessment (PPA1) to determine the best parenting plan available to a minor child.

The courts will use the evidence presented to them in hearings and the recommendations of minor's counsel or Parenting Plan Assessment to create a parenting plan.

It is important to have a lawyer properly present your interests and issues to ensure that you are able to have the proper custody time with your child.

Other Custody Issues

  • Holidays

    • Holidays can often be a point of contention between parents in determining custody issues. While holiday schedule may seem like a minor aspect of the custody schedule it in fact makes up close to 30 percent of the total custody time.

    • Holiday schedules often are designations of parenting time for all major all holidays, winter break and summer break. However, depending on your child's school district you may have additional time that would be prudent to put into any holiday time.

    • There may be other special days or other holidays you want added to your schedule, you may also want to allot weeks during the summer to have an uninterrupted vacation time.

  • Move Away Orders

    • If you plan to move or relocate even within Los Angeles County, you may need to file a move away request with the court and have the court approve of the change. These actions can take some time so it is important to file this action far before you plan to relocate.​

    • Conversely, if your child's other parent plans to move, it is important to defend your right to be able to see your child. Moving away can result in major changes to any existing custody schedule.

  • Paternity

    • It is assumed that any child born during a marriage is the father's child. However, if you are having a child or had a child with someone you were not married to, you may need to establish yourself as the parent's child, prior to asserting your right to custody. Read more on paternity cases here.​

  • Modifications

    • Your child's care is likely of huge importance to you, and as your child gets older you may realize that your current custody plan is no longer working. Custody plans can be modified. Read more about modifications here.​

  • Child Support


We specialize in a wide range of Family Law matters. Click the boxes for more information on each topic. Don't see what you're looking for? Give us a call or fill out the form below.



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