Child Custody & Visitation
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
Every divorce involving minor children, or “parentage action” (i.e. where the parents of a child or children are unmarried), should include legal and physical custody orders relative to the children.
This is the actual parenting time of each of the parties with his or her child(ren). The amount of physical custody each parent has impacts the amount of child support which will be ordered by the court, if the parties don’t agree to an amount. The financial incentive, in some cases, causes parents to fight for “sole custody” or “joint custody,” even when such an order might not be in the best interest of the children.
Most children suffer enough when their parent’s marriage (or non-marital relationship) falls apart, particularly if their parents engage in costly and emotionally-draining litigation. The court’s primary focus is on parenting plans that are in the “best interest of the children.” Our firm is experienced in negotiating and drafting plans to reach compromises that satisfy the needs of most families. Without a doubt, there are some circumstances, such as cases of domestic violence, or substance abuse by one of the parents, where litigation is necessary to protect the best interest of your child. In that event, our firm provides zealous and experienced advocacy. We are also experienced with move away/relocation and international child custody cases.
Many times parents agree to “joint” legal custody, which gives them “equal” decision making power. However, all children are different, and each has unique needs. Some have special needs. Our firm is experienced and knowledgeable on the types of conflicts that can arise if legal decision-making authority is not clearly established in your custody orders. We will work with you to protect the best interest of your child.
In most cases, the parents of the child are the gatekeepers relative to grandparent visitation. Grandparents, using love and diplomacy, will hopefully be actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren. However, in California, the courts also look to the best interest of the children. If you are a grandparent who has lived with your grandchild, and/or been actively involved in raising your grandchild, and there is a sudden denial of access to your grandchild, or serious safety concerns related to the grandchild and the child’s parents(s), our firm has the experience to advise you of your best legal options and, if necessary, take legal action on your behalf.