Fighting for Child Custody in California

Divorce or separation isn’t something you hoped for, especially when you have children. It’s unfortunate when a divorce becomes necessary, but sometimes that’s just reality. The most important thing to concentrate on when you’re getting a divorce is what’s best for the children.

You probably want to spend as much time with your children as possible, and you want them to have the best life possible, despite the divorce. You probably believe with all your heart that you are what’s best for your kids, but you might have to fight to get custody of your kids in California.

This article goes into more detail on child custody laws and how to ensure you get to be in your children’s lives as much as possible.

The Basics

In California there are a few different types of custody.

  • There’s sole custody, which is when one parent has both legal and physical custody of a child.
  • Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions regarding a child’s life and happiness.
  • Physical custody is the actual time that the child is with the parent.
  • Finally, there’s joint custody, which is when both parents work out a shared arrangement for physical custody, and both parents usually have legal custody.
  • If one parent has more custody than the other parent, then the other parent’s physical time spent with the child is often referred to as visitation.

How is Custody Decided in California?

There are a few different ways that custody can be worked out between you and your ex. The first way is to come to an agreement between the two of you. If you both agree to the arrangement, you can make a parenting plan and have the court sign off on it.

If you don’t agree you can try taking your custody matters through the mediation process. This process is where a mediator will moderate discussions between you and your ex as to how you would like to handle custody.

If you can’t decide on custody matters in mediation then the only other option is to take your case to court.

What Factors Does Family Court Consider When Deciding on Custody?

When two parents can’t reach an agreement outside of the courtroom as to custody matters that’s when it becomes necessary for the court to step in. Additionally, some types of family custody disputes will only be settled in court, because mediation would not be appropriate, such as if domestic violence existed within the marriage.

The court looks at the whole picture when making decisions on child custody. The court only cares about what is best for the children, and doesn’t care at all what you think is right or fair. The following are some of the factors the court looks at when deciding on a custody arrangement:

  • The parents’ mental health
  • Substance abuse or domestic violence issues
  • Financial issues
  • The health of the parents and children
  • School/neighborhood factors
  • The relationship each parent has with the child
  • Income of each parent
  • The children’s preference

Do You Need Help Fighting for Child Custody in California?

Fighting for child custody is difficult and emotional, but you might have a better chance at getting the outcome you’re hoping for when you work with a child custody lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga. A lawyer can walk you through the custody process, ensuring that you complete all the required tasks and court documentation.

A lawyer can also help with custody mediation, and can assist you if your custody matter is taken to court. You can’t be expected to know all the laws, and working with a lawyer means gaining legal knowledge and expertise that the lawyer will bring to your case. This will likely greatly improve the outcome of your case.