Child Custody in San Diego
If you are fighting for child custody in court, you should hire a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer to help represent the best interest of the children. I encourage my clients to be respectful in all negotiations because I recognize that everyone will have to work together to implement any visitation plan. If you can’t agree on a schedule with the other parent, it can be expensive to go to trial to present all the evidence in front of the judge.
Reasons it is important to hire a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer before going to court to work out a child sharing plan.
What types of child custody are there in California?
The issues related to child custody are complicated so it is best to hire a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer if you are going to court. I have represented parents in disputes over child custody as part of a divorce and as a dispute between couples who were never married. Child Custody issues typically need to be modified over the years as circumstances change between the parents. Child custody in California is separated into legal and physical custody. Legal child custody refers to the right of the parent to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. Physical child custody on the other hand refers to where the child lives.
Won’t the court grant me full child custody?
Most courts will award joint legal child custody, which means both parents are entitled to make key decisions for the children. However, the specifics of a joint legal custody arrangement will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the family. It is important to spell out as many details as possible in the initial order, including how to work through certain issues when they arise. If the order is not clear in one area, parents have to return to court when they disagree.
OK but can’t I get sole physical child custody?
The division of physical child custody is much more complicated. This is why it helps to work with a Child Custody Lawyer before going to court. One parent is typically designated the primary caretaker and the child spends most of their time with that parent during the week. The other parent is often given time during specific evenings during the week and some weekends. Judges slowly transition to 50/50 custody as appropriate. Judges avoid drastic changes because stability is important for young children.
What happens when my Child Custody Lawyer files paperwork with the Court?
When someone files paperwork requesting the judge to make orders regarding their children, the Court is going to send the parents to Family Court Services mediation to work out a child-sharing schedule. The goal is to consider the best interests of the children. Hiring a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer early on can help you prepare for this mediation. I refer clients to professionals who help them prepare for mediation. Preparation is important because this is your one chance to present your story to the mediator. If you can’t agree at the mediation session, the mediator will make a recommendation to the court that they believe to be in the best interests of the children.
What if I don’t like the recommendations made after mediation?
If you don’t like the recommendations of the Family Court Services mediator, the only option is to request an evidentiary hearing or trial so that you can present witness testimony and other evidence you want the judge to consider. Going to trial is very expensive and emotionally draining for both sides. If you are considering this option, keep in mind your San Diego Child Custody Lawyer will likely question the other parent on the witness stand. This can strain an already difficult relationship with the other parent. Sometimes it makes sense to call the mediator as a witness to ask them about the reasons behind their recommendation.
How does the court handle cases with three parents?
he California Family Code allows courts to recognize three parents. Courts will attempt to split the child custody time between the three of them. Here, the goal is to allow for each of them to spend significant time with the child. Courts want parents to be flexible when sharing their time with the other parents. The parent who is more flexible in sharing the children often appears better to the judge. Parents who can adapt to changes with their children can avoid returning to court. If you can agree, it is useful to write up an agreement with the other parents. The agreement should be filed with the court. When the judge signs the agreement it becomes an order. It is important to have an agreement written by a San Diego Child Custody Lawyer so that it includes all the important language.