What Questions To Ask An Attorney About Child Custody – Child custody is an agreement on parental rights for the child or children. Child custody disputes can be heartbreaking, emotionally taxing conflicts. They can also cost a significant amount of money and make everyone feel unhappy. If a parent happens to lose their job or move out of state, this event can change the custody arrangement. In some cases, it seems like there really are no winners. Child custody attorneys can help you sort out the Court’s terms and methods of making decisions.
In an effort to help prevent ugly custody battles, California family courts now require these disputes to go through a mediation process before parents can proceed to court. During mediation, the courts order that divorcing parents focus on only one critical factor:
What Questions To Ask An Attorney About Child Custody
The best interests of the children must always come first, whether the divorce is between wealthy parents with vacation homes and substantial assets, or parents who are just getting by. The family unit is valuable to a child’s development, and when that unit needs to be broken, there are ways to protect children and ensure they have what they need to continue to grow and thrive.
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The Law Office of Renkin & Associates handles child custody issues and disputes throughout San Diego County. The attorneys in our Family Law practice are experienced in these types of cases, and they will actively listen to your needs. They help you face the difficult decisions, answer your questions and prepare you for each step of the mediation process ahead. The more prepared you are when it comes to family law mediation, the better chance you will have of getting a good outcome for your children.
Understanding how child custody works can be a good first step in preparing for the mediation process. Here are some things to keep in mind during negotiations and court proceedings.
Similar to courts in most other states, California courts prefer that children of divorce maintain as much contact with both parents as possible. However, since the parents will no longer live together, it can become difficult to work out arrangements for joint custody. If one parent is unfit or incompetent or abusive, the court can award custody of the children to the other parent. Although the parents are allowed to try to negotiate their own custody arrangement, a court will not honor a prenuptial agreement that specifies who gets custody of the children or that includes a waiver of or limitation on child support. It was found to violate public policy.
Both parents are expected to support their children after a divorce, and the amount of support can vary depending on the parents’ income and the agreed custody arrangement. Child support is included in the payer’s reported income for tax purposes. Child support is also unique in that even if the paying spouse declares bankruptcy, he or she will not be able to remove his or her obligation to pay.
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If you and your spouse have children or have children from a previous marriage or relationship, you may want to consider how to make sure that these children do not lose access to your property after your divorce or in the event that you pass away before your divorce is final. Your spouse may automatically be entitled to a certain percentage of your assets, depending on how long you have been married and how you acquired these assets. However, there may be ways to ensure that your children remain entitled to as much of your assets as possible, such as changing the status of your property to joint tenants or creating a trust for them.
Lately, there has been a push toward courts determining who gets custody of pets in a divorce in a similar way to who gets custody of children. Although the court can look at who bought and initially cared for the pet, the court can also look at which spouse would be better equipped to care for the pet and will also hear testimony about whether one spouse abused the pet.
There is “legal custody” and “physical custody”. “Joint custody” is when both parents share the life decisions equally. You would call these “joint legal custody” and “joint physical custody.”
Legal custody determines which parent should make the decisions for the children’s welfare, religious education, health, education, etc. Courts prefer to award joint legal custody so that both parents remain as involved as possible in their children’s lives.
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Even if you share legal custody – via joint legal custody – the non-primary caregiver spouse may want to defer smaller decisions to the primary caregiver, such as when the child can go to the doctor, to avoid inefficiencies. However, all parents still want to be involved in bigger decisions such as where the children go to school or in which extracurricular activities they should be involved. If divorcing couples constantly disagree about even minor issues about the children, the case may be considered “high conflict,” and this may result in a judge awarding legal custody (or final decision-making authority) to one parent alone. Sole legal custody can also be awarded if one of the parents waives his or her right to legal custody, lives far away, is not involved in the child’s life, or has a history of abuse.
Physical custody determines which spouse the children regularly live with and therefore “visit” with the other parent. It can be shared by joint physical custody between the parents, or it can be awarded to only one of the parents. As in the case of legal custody, judges prefer to order joint physical custody where possible to keep both parents involved in the children’s lives. However, just because one spouse has primary physical custody does not mean that the other spouse can never see the children.
Terms such as “primary or secondary child custody,” or “50/50 custody,” may also be used to describe child custody agreements. In addition, the final custody and visitation arrangements made may affect child support obligations.
Our child custody attorneys provide fair, effective and aggressive representation to protect your parental rights while ensuring that the best interests of your children are well served. It can feel like a balancing act in some cases, especially when there is a lot at stake for both the parents and the children, but good legal representation may be just what you need to make an important difference in the lives of your children .
Frequently Asked Questions
There are no guarantees in custody cases, but there are ways to improve your odds and envision a better outcome that will more strongly benefit your children while remaining fair and equitable for both parents.
If the court finds that a parent is unfit and does not have the ability to raise the child, the court can take away custody, usually on a temporary basis. In doing so, they will have a set of tasks for the parent to complete. Completing the task will show that the parent is willing to prove that they will be a good role model for the child. Your child custody attorney can fight for your rights and help you prove to the court that you are doing your due diligence to complete these tasks to regain custody of your child.
It is possible to change a child custody agreement that is not working for you and that you are not happy with. You can modify a child custody agreement through the court, or if you are in an amicable situation, you can just ask to make a new agreement without being seen by a judge. It is still advisable to seek help from a Certified Family Law Specialist with a background in child custody to make sure your rights are protected. A child custody attorney can help you file this order.
The visitation schedule determines the non-custodial parent’s time with their children. It can also affect child support calculations, so it is generally one of the most contentious issues associated with divorce cases. The Certified Family Law Specialists understand the importance of visiting and spending time with your children. We work very hard to ensure a meaningful parenting future for each of our clients.
Vital Steps When Renewing Contact Between Parents And Children
If you find yourself concerned about the visitation rights you currently have, or how custody and visitation rights might be resolved in your pending divorce, the experienced attorneys at our Family Law practice can evaluate your case and help put your mind at ease. For further support or advice, call our office at 619-299-7100 or email us to schedule a case evaluation with a San Diego divorce attorney. must deal with is a child custody matter. So when starting your case, you need to know what questions to ask a child custody attorney?
Knowing what questions to ask ahead of time will help you be better prepared and know what to expect
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