Child Custody & Child Support Lawyers in San Diego

Determining child custody and child support is a crucial part of the divorce process. Once you have decided to divorce, you will likely have significant childcare concerns – the court is trusted to decide what is best for your child, while not knowing your child or the relationship either parent has with your child. Schaffer Family Law Group and its experienced team of San Diego family law attorneys, is committed to learning about your child, their particular needs, and your unique situation in order to make recommendations and advocate for the child custody and child support arrangements that will best serve you and your family now and in the future.

In most circumstances, the family law court will recommend a parenting plan that allows for joint custody, which allows both parents to participate in making decisions about the child’s welfare and gives both parents responsibility for the child’s physical care. In order to fully understand child custody arrangements, it is important to understand the difference between physical and legal custody.

Legal Custody & Physical Custody


In California, the family law courts consider many factors when determining child custody. While each situation has its own unique circumstances, the court will generally consider the child’s age and health, their connection to their school and their community, the emotional relationship between the child and both parents, and the ability for each parent to take care of the child. It is assumed in all child custody and visitation arrangements that the child’s interests are most important. Fairness to parents is secondary to the interests of the child.

Legal custody determines which parent is responsible for making important decisions about the child’s welfare, particularly in relation to their education and health care. Joint legal custody means that both parents are involved in the decision-making.

Physical custody determines which parent is responsible for the physical care and supervision of the child, and taking care of needs like shelter, clothing, food and transportation. Joint physical custody means that both parents share responsibility for the child’s physical well-being.

It is possible for one parent to have sole legal or physical custody of a child, or to have both legal and physical custody. It is also possible for both parents to have legal custody, but one parent may have sole physical custody. As circumstances change and the child gets older, it is possible to modify custody arrangements, and we regularly work with clients to modify their custody and child support arrangements as needed.

Child Support


In addition to legal and physical custody, the family law court will determine how your child will be taken care of financially. Many factors will impact your child support needs and/or responsibilities, including the gross income of both parents, timeshare of the child, tax factors, and other expenses. If you do not have joint physical custody of the child, you may be asked to provide more financial support. While child support is intended to cover the basic necessities, it can be used to pay for many things that support the child, depending on the situation. Schaffer Family Law Group has worked with families throughout San Diego County and beyond to ensure that not only does child support adequately cover the child’s needs, but also to ensure that your arrangement is fair to you based on your unique family situation. We have significant experience and expertise in working successfully with families on: