San Diego Child Custody Attorneys
California Custody Modification Lawyers
California Child Custody and Child Sharing
Individuals involved in divorce and/or separation generally find themselves in a state of turmoil. This is a time in which many life changes are occurring. People may be experiencing personal turmoil and emotional pain. When there are children involved, parents may also struggle with being the best parent they can for their children.
The myriad issues involving families in the divorce/separation process and the uncertainty of what the future can, and will, bring results in this area being the most emotionally charged and heavily litigated area of family law. Any time there are family issues involved in divorce, separation or paternity actions, professional legal assistance should be obtained. The decisions made regarding your children will have a lifetime effect upon them. Make the right decision and call our office for an appointment to discuss these paramount issues.
Most parents provide a safe environment for their children, themselves and the other parent. It is important to realize that the policy of the state of California is to provide for such parents continuing and frequent contact by both parents. It is also important to understand that for such parents, it is in the child's best interest to have a meaningful parent/child relationship. After all, it is all of our goal as parents to have our children grow into well-adjusted, productive members of society. A successful parenting plan, in which both parents act in the child's best interest, give the child the best opportunity to develop into such an adult.
For families in which there is substance abuse, violence, neglect or sexual abuse, developing and maintaining an appropriate, safe and successful parenting plan is very complicated. The most important interest of the court is the safety of innocent children. When the already difficult issues of child sharing are compounded by substance abuse, violence, neglect or sexual abuse, the court will move very slowly and deliberately to ensure safety.
Client Testimonial: Divorce is an emotionally challenging and confusing life event. David Beeson and his team provided me with superior legal advice and guidance that I needed to make the best of a difficult situation. All the best, Rachael
California splits custody into two areas: legal custody and physical custody. California prefers to make joint legal and joint physical custody orders with a parenting plan as to where the child will be on actual dates and times.
The concept of joint legal custody is that both parents shall have the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding a child's health, education and welfare. For example, each parent should be heard regarding whether the child should attend a private school or public school. Other examples are the need for braces, participation in extracurricular activities, such as tackle football or dance class, etc.
Joint physical custody means that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody and shall share time with the child in such a manner so as to assure the child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
Both of the parents are equally entitled to custody of the child.
When establishing a parenting plan, it is important to remember the age, maturity and history of your child. It is always better for the parents to craft a parenting plan as opposed to having the plan forced upon them. By establishing a mutually agreed upon parenting plan, the parents can carefully craft around schedules and are far more likely to follow the plan.
Parenting plans are schedules that become orders of the court. The plan establishes the "timeshare" for each parent and impacts numerous other areas, including support. (See our Support page). If necessary, the plan can be very specific. All plans should deal with holidays, non-school time, vacations and other important days.
To help establish a plan, and as a prerequisite to making most custody or child-sharing orders, the parents must attend a meeting at Family Court Services. This mediation session deals solely with the topic of children and the parenting plan. This is a very important meeting, and each party should be fully prepared to discuss the best interests of the children. Pleadings that have been filed with the court may be served on the mediator five days prior to the session and only if they have likewise been served in advance on the other party.
Once a plan is established, both parents should remain flexible. Remember, it is your children that suffer when parents deny one another time with the children. To flourish, a child needs consistency and security. Consistently following a parenting plan and supporting the concept of co-parenting gives the children their best chance.
As circumstances change and the child grows older, the parenting plan will need to be modified. To modify a court order, you should always formally prepare the agreement and file it with the court. Once again, if the parents disagree, the court will continue to have jurisdiction to make orders.
There are numerous issues involved in custody and child sharing cases. Even if you and the other parent agree on these topics prior to these items becoming orders of the court, have them reviewed by a professional that can advise you of the short- and long-term impact of these decisions. If you or anyone you know has these issues, make the right decision and contact our office for an appointment.
After all, it is your future.