Child Custody

San Diego Child Custody Attorney


Helping Families in Del Mar, San Diego, and Throughout California

At Livingstone Law, APC, we are passionate about helping families through some of the most difficult times. Whether you are facing a divorce, are involved in a child support issue, or are facing a child custody dispute, we can help you reach the best possible outcome.

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What Is Child Custody?

In California, child custody refers to the legal decision-making rights of a child. Parents can have sole custody, joint custody, or shared custody. While the terms are often used interchangeably, sole custody refers to one parent having sole decision-making authority over a child, whereas joint custody refers to both parents sharing joint decision-making authority.

Parents can also share joint custody by having the child spend time with both parents. Shared custody refers to both parents having equal decision-making authority. In California, courts typically favor joint custody arrangements, but this is not always the case. The best arrangement for a child depends on the unique facts of each case.

How Does Child Custody Work in California?

Factors Courts Consider When Determining Custody

  • the child's needs
  • the child's physical, social, and psychological needs
  • the parents' abilities to meet the child's needs
  • the child's relationship with each parent
  • the parents' ability to provide the child with a stable, healthy environment
  • whether a parent's decision to move with the child would negatively impact the child's stability and development
  • whether the parents agree on custody or how the child should be raised
  • whether a parent's abuse of drugs or alcohol would negatively impact the child
  • whether either parent is unfit

Courts generally try to make custody arrangements that are in the best interest of the child. Courts will consider the child's needs and the parents' abilities to meet those needs. Courts will also consider the child's relationship with each parent and the parents' ability to provide a stable, healthy environment for the child.

In addition, courts will take into consideration whether a parent's decision to move with the child would negatively impact the child's stability and development. Courts will also consider whether a parent's drug or alcohol abuse would negatively impact the child. Lastly, courts will consider whether a parent is unfit.

For experienced legal counsel for your alimony case, contact Livingstone Law, APC online or fill out our online form.


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Hear From Our Happy Clients

    “Best Family Lawyer in San Diego!”

    Vera Livingstone is hands down, the BEST family court lawyer out there. Words can't even express how overjoyed I am with her work. Going to court is a stressful process, especially if it's something you've never been through before. Vera, however, made everything so easy! I had just left a domestically abusive relationship and needed protection for both my newborn and I. Vera sprung into action an assisted me in retaining a restraining order. From here, she continued to impress me with her litigation skills and work ethic. Filing all paperwork and evidence to support my case right away. I was never left in the dark, she kept me updated on everything relating to court. When it came to presenting my case, I was left in complete shock. Vera is a BEAST in the courtroom. Not only does she have a good rapport with the court but her professionalism and ability to think quick on her feet was impressive. In addition to this, the way she fought for my son and I. Truly, I was left in complete amazement. Never in my life, have I've witnessed anyone defend and protect me as well as Vera did. She put my mind at ease and gave me a sense of confidence throughout this whole process. I got everything I wanted! I couldn't have done any of this without the help of Vera Livingstone. I highly recommend that everyone hire her to be their lawyer. I promise, she will not disappoint.

    - Miranda
    “Nice and polite throughout my cases.”

    Extremely happy with Vera's work. She has helped so much and has always been nice and polite throughout my cases.

    - Arturo
    “She is truly worth her weight in gold.”

    She handled my dissolution case with class. She allowed me to be free of worries and stress by dealing with all the paperwork. She is truly worth her weight in gold. She is an excellent lawyer, and pushes for what is best for you and family. Amazing work and amazing legal team. Thank-you!

    - Kristabel
    “You simply will not find a more competent and compassionate lawyer than Vera.”

    I am a licensed attorney who hired Vera to handle my own custody move-away case based on a referral from a friend. By the time Vera became involved, I had already received rulings that made my chances of prevailing at trial pretty slim. This did not deter Vera. She took my case, gave me hope, and showed me so much compassion. Vera spent the time to get up to speed, she made sense of all the evidence, and took her time getting to know me and the issues in the case. She was a fierce advocate in court, not only for me, but also for what was in the best interest of my son. She made sure my voice was heard. I ultimately prevailed at trial because of Vera's knowledge, skill, and experience in family law. I highly recommend Vera and owe her a great debt for what she was able to achieve for me and my son. As a lawyer myself and having met many lawyers, I feel confident in saying: you simply will not find a more competent and compassionate lawyer than Vera.

    - Alexa
    “She was compassionate about what I was going through.”

    I hired Vera to deal with a very difficult situation that arose in my private life. From the beginning, I could tell that she had the necessary experience and toughness to deal with my case. At the same time, she was compassionate about what I was going through which really helped me to recover from a traumatic personal situation. I intend to hire her again next year to take care of another family law issue. Can’t recommend her highly enough

    - Previous Client
    “I would recommend her to anyone that needed a great lawyer.”

    Great person and lawyer to use. Vera took over my case from another lawyer, fixed everything that wasn't right, and did everything needed to win my case. I would recommend her to anyone that needed a great lawyer.

    - John
    “She allowed me to ask questions and was very knowledgeable in her answers.”

    I did an initial consultation with Vera, and she was extremely helpful! She was very well organized and gave me a great overview of some things I can expect with my separation. She allowed me to ask questions and was very knowledgable in her answers and provided helpful feedback. Her personality is a great fit, and she is definitely someone I will want to work with if needed through this situation. I feel way more informed and at ease after only talking to her once.

    - SY
    “I highly recommend her and her firm.”

    Vera Livingstone handled my divorce situation with great care. She represented me well and managed the negotiations with great skill. I highly recommend her and her firm.

    - Fred