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Getting Child Custody in California

children's custody

As with all breakups, you will lose a partner in a separation, divorce, or annulment. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your children, too.  The family courts decide on child custody should you disagree with a former spouse on arrangements regarding your children. Even without being married, a father can still seek legal help in getting custody of his children.

The safety and welfare of your children are the utmost priority. If you want to get custody of your child following a breakup, contest a custody ruling, or if you want to retain custody over your child, seek legal help from 805 Law Group in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero in California. Their dedicated child custody lawyers are compassionate and empathetic in every case they take on but they also don’t have any problems in taking an aggressive approach especially when it comes to protecting your children. 

California child custody laws can be complicated. Understanding custody legal terms plus an experienced family law attorney will boost your chances of protecting your parental rights.


Custody and Visitation

It is an inherent right of parents to take on all matters regarding their children. Even when parents are unmarried or have legally separated, divorced, or annulled their marriage, they can make their arrangements regarding child custody and visitation even without a court order. An agreement between parents is binding and enforceable. However, should one fail to cooperate, the family court cannot enforce an agreement only made between the parents. It is highly recommended for parents to turn in their agreements to a judge and have them made into a court order. This way, the court can now compel adherence of all parties to the agreement.  Any violations would shift the favor away from the misbehaving parent. 

Contact a California family lawyer today if you want to know more about how to file child custody and visitation agreement to a judge. 


Family Court Services Custody Mediation

It only gets complicated when parents are unable to agree on the child custody and visitation arrangements. 

The judge will ask parents who cannot agree between themselves to a Family Court Services mediation. In this case, a mediator or a court-related program will help parents come up with an agreement. Should this still fail and no agreement has been reached, the family court decides on child custody and visitation schedule as provided for by law. 


Custody Evaluation

In some cases, the family court can have a child custody evaluator do a custody evaluation by taking into consideration the circumstances and capability, and capacity of both parents in taking on child custody and recommend a parenting plan. 


Child Custody Modification

Custody and visitation arrangements ordered by the court are not final and irrevocable. A parent can appeal at any time. Talk to your child custody lawyers should you wish to contest a custody and visitation order. They have the experience and the knowledge to evaluate your case and recommend your next steps to build a solid case. 

Moreover, custody and visitation arrangements may require modification over time and various factors would merit a modification such as a parent growing his income, the child expanding his/her needs, a parent moving to another place, or entering into a new marriage. 

A child custody and visitation arrangement will primarily take into consideration the child’s best interests and any changes that could affect his/her interests can justify a custody modification.

This process is easier if the parents both agree to the change of custody or visitation as they can jointly submit the new arrangement in court for approval and issuance of a court order. However, if only one parent is amenable to a modification, the requesting parent should file for the forms in court and request for a review. 

The California Family Law mandates the requesting parent to demonstrate the significant changes in circumstances that would require a revision of the custody and visitation order. As stability is within the child’s best interests, the court considers this. The court will only approve of a custody modification with substantial justifications.

Under California family law, either parent may request a custody review and modification. Have a child custody lawyer look into your case to identify your best strategy in winning a child custody battle. 

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

In California, a child’s custody may be awarded to either parent or shared by both parents. Having your child live with your former partner doesn’t mean that you also have zero rights on the welfare of your child. There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. 

Legal custody grants either or both parents the right to make important decisions about the child’s welfare, such as his upbringing, education, and health and wellness. Being granted legal custody means that your child does not have to necessarily live with you for you to take part in discussing and deciding everything related to the child. 

On the other hand, physical custody grants either parent sole physical custody or both parents with joint physical custody. In sole physical custody, the parent with whom the child primarily lives is called the custodial or residential parent while the other parent is referred to as the noncustodial or nonresidential parent, who is typically granted visitation rights. As such, parents with a record of domestic violence and abuse are not usually granted physical custody and may be ordered with supervised visits or supervised parenting time.

Custody cases can drag on too long. The longer the case is fought out in court, the more strenuous it becomes to all involved.

If you have not been granted legal or physical custody of your child, you can appeal and request a modification. Perhaps you have a record of domestic, alcohol, or drug abuse but have undergone treatment and you wish to spend more time with your child, talk to a child custody attorney to weigh your options. An attorney dealing with family law can help and advise you with a solid strategy in getting visitation rights even if it might be supervised. 


Supervised Parenting Time

A supervised parenting time is awarded to a noncustodial parent who may have a history of domestic violence, abuse, a record of absence, and/or neglect. Usually, supervised parenting time takes place in court-approved locations and will require a visitation supervisor or even the presence of the other parent, whichever is for the best interest of the child. 

Given proper behavior and strict adherence to the court order, the noncustodial parent can elevate to unsupervised visitation and depending on circumstances could even lead towards joint custody. 


Seek Legal Help

Schedule an appointment with the San Luis Obispo law firm, 805 Law Group to decide on the best course of action for the welfare of your child. You can take the necessary steps in ensuring your child won’t suffer the most with your divorce, separation, or annulment. Your relationship with your partner may have ended, but it doesn’t have to be the same with your child. Schedule your appointment with 805 Law Group immediately.