Ventura County Child Custody Lawyer

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Ventura County Child Custody Attorney

Filing for divorce is often one of the most traumatic events that can occur in life. Emotions can run high, and stress may seem never-ending, especially if children are involved.

A child’s welfare is of the utmost importance in the state of California. In the most ideal situations, parents will come to an agreement on the custody arrangement and the visitation rights, but it is not always that simple. In many cases, a third party may be needed to help the parents negotiate these difficult decisions before bringing their case to court. This is where a child custody lawyer can simplify your divorce and help to ensure the best outcome for your children.

Laurie Peters & Associates is a team of highly experienced lawyers who are familiar with the California courts. We can help you and your ex-spouse work through the complications of your divorce and put your mind at ease regarding the welfare of your children. We can give your case the attention it deserves and provide the knowledge and information necessary to make this stressful time just a bit simpler.

How Is Custody Determined in Ventura County, CA

As a no-fault state, California does not hold fault against the parent who issued the divorce when determining their child custody rights. Both parents are entitled to equal custody of their child if there is no evidence to prove that the child is endangered under their care.

If the two parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, the court will decide this for them. This decision is often based on the evaluation of a social worker, witness testimony, psychological evaluations, and child preference (if the child or children are over 12 years of age).

One parent can also compile evidence of misconduct against the other, such as drug/alcohol abuse, adultery, or a history of violence. If any evidence of misconduct is provided, this may also affect the child custody agreement determined by the court.

Types of Custody

There are two types of custody that parents may be awarded in a divorce: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal Custody

Most parents in California share joint legal custody of their children. This means that both parents are responsible for making important decisions regarding the welfare, education, and health of their children. This could include where their child goes to school or the doctor, if their child participates in sports or extracurricular activities, or if their child attends religious gatherings/institutions.

If one parent is given sole legal custody, this means that this one parent alone oversees making these important life decisions for their child or children.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is often awarded to one parent in the state of California, with the other parent being given visitation rights. This could often mean that the child resides permanently with one parent but may go to see the other parent regularly, such as on the weekends, certain holidays, or for vacation.

Joint physical custody can be granted, but it is not always in the best interests of the child. Oftentimes, physical custody is given to the parent who is closest to the child’s school, friends, or extracurricular activities.

Factors That May Influence Custody

In addition to the overall safety and welfare of the child, other factors can play into the custody arrangement determined by the court. Some of these factors can include:

  • What the child desires: At the age of 12, children have a say in which parent they would rather live with. These desires are then taken into consideration by the court.
  • Parental stability: Employment, residence, and the physical/mental health of the parent can determine how capable the parent is of holding physical custody of their child.
  • Criminal history: if one parent has a criminal history, they are less likely to gain custody of their child.
  • Ability to provide care: Children need care; therefore, the court will assess how able a parent is to take care of their child, such as how much time they will be able to spend with the child. Parents who work long or unstable hours may have less of a chance of gaining physical custody of their child.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is typically paid each month by one parent to the other. Typically, this payment is made by the parent who does not hold physical custody of the child. The payment is used to help support the child with any life expenses, such as:

  • Food
  • Education
  • Medical expenses
  • Clothing
  • Extracurriculars

In general, child support is intended to help with any expenses that the parent who holds physical custody may need to pay to support their child.

Parents can either come to an agreement about the monthly support payment, or if they cannot make this decision themselves, then the court will decide for them. They will use a calculation that takes into consideration the income of each parent, the geographic location, the age of the child, etc.

The Importance of Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer

Navigating custody agreements without the support of a child custody lawyer can be difficult and lead to results that are less than ideal. The court will not always honor your custody agreement or see the unique qualities of your case. A child custody lawyer serves as a middleman between you and your ex-spouse. They may help the two of you find a custody agreement that works.

In addition, attempting to navigate complicated legal matters without the help of a professional can increase the risk of problems arising in the future. Once a custody agreement is finalized by the court, it will be much more difficult to adjust it later. It is in your best interest to ensure that the process is done legally so that you can carve a path for a new life after your divorce is finalized.

Child Custody Laws FAQs:

Q: How Much Does It Cost to File for Custody?

A: If you are considering filing for child custody, there is a fee of $435. It is also highly recommended that you find and pay a child custody attorney to help you file the custody papers with the court. This will ensure a better chance of achieving the results you wish for as well as prevent any legal issues or problems from arising in the future. Child custody attorneys in California often charge a flat fee ranging from $3,000 to $20,000.

Q: Who Has Custody of a Child If There Is No Court Order?

A: In California, both parents share joint legal and physical custody of their children even without a court order. If you are filing for sole custody, then you must provide evidence of why it is in the best interest of your child or children that you be solely responsible for their welfare and their legal residence. This can be more easily accomplished with the help of a child custody attorney.

Q: At What Age Can a Child Decide Custody?

A: At age 12, children are legally allowed to express their desires about which parent they would like to live with. This does not guarantee that the court will give this parent full custody. In California, there is currently no law that states that a minor can choose who will have custody of them. Their desires are simply taken into consideration, but the court makes the ultimate decision based on the child’s best interest.

Q: What Is Considered Full Custody?

A: There are two types of full custody that parents can be awarded: legal custody and physical custody. If a parent is given full legal custody, they are the sole parent that can make decisions regarding their child’s education, health, and welfare. If one parent is granted sole physical custody, their child will live with them full-time. Typically, one parent may be given sole physical custody but share legal custody with the other parent.

Q: How Do I Get Joint Custody?

A: California does not prioritize one parent over another when determining custody rights. Instead, California bases its custody arrangements solely on what is best for the child. Factors that can be taken into consideration when deciding whether to grant sole or joint custody are the stability of the parent, a previous criminal record, a parent’s ability to provide care for their child, and the wishes of the child if they are old enough to express them.

Worried About Your Children After Your Divorce? Trust in Our Team

Laurie Peters & Associates is here for your family during one of the hardest points of their lives. We can work diligently on your unique case, getting to know you personally and putting the state of your child’s welfare first. We care about our clients, seeing each one as extended family. We have the knowledge to provide peace of mind that there is a brighter future ahead. You and your children are safe when you put your trust in us.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce in or around Ventura, California, do not wait another minute to contact us and let us help you and your family through this hard time.

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