Filing for divorce, separation, or parentage is one of the most traumatic events in one’s life. Emotions run high, and stress seems never-ending when children are involved.
A child’s welfare is of the utmost importance in the state of California. Ideally, parents will come to an agreement over custody, visitation, and/or support. Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. A family law attorney can simplify the process and ensure the best outcome for your children.
Laurie Peters & Associates, APLC has a team of experienced attorneys who are familiar with the California courts. We can help you work through the complications of your divorce, separation, or parentage action and put your mind at ease regarding the welfare of your children.
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 for them. This decision is 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 or a history of violence. If any evidence of misconduct is provided, this may affect the child custody agreement determined by the court.
There are two types of custody that parents may be awarded: legal custody and physical custody.
Most parents in California share joint legal custody of their children. Both parents are responsible for making important decisions regarding the welfare, education, and health of their children. This includes 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 this parent alone oversees making these important life decisions for their child or children.
Physical custody is often awarded to one parent with the other parent being given visitation rights. This means that the child resides permanently with one parent but may see the other parent regularly such as on the weekends, certain holidays, or for vacation.
Joint physical custody can be granted, but it is uncommon. Oftentimes, physical custody is given to the parent who is closest to the child’s school, friends, or extracurricular activities.
In addition to the overall safety and welfare of the child, other factors can play into the custody arrangement determined by the California court. Some of these factors include:
Child support is typically paid each month by one parent to the other. This payment is made by the non-custodial parent of the child to help support the child with any life expenses such as:
In general, child support is intended to help with any expenses that the custodial parent may need to pay to support their child.
Parents can either come to an agreement about the monthly support payment, or if they cannot, 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, among other factors.
Navigating custody agreements without the support of a family law attorney can be difficult. Further, this may 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 family law attorney serves as a middleman between you and the other parent which may help the two of you find a custody agreement that works.
Attempting to navigate complicated legal matters without the help of a professional can increase the risk of problems arising in the future. Laurie Peters & Associates, APLC can help you through this process.
If you are considering filing for child custody, visitation, and/or support, there is a court filing fee of $435 to open a new case. If you are filing within an existing case, the court filing fee is $60. It is highly recommended that you find a family law attorney to help you file with the court. This will ensure a better chance of achieving the results you wish for as well as prevent any future legal issues or problems from arising.
In California, both parents share joint legal and physical custody of their children without a court order. If you are filing for sole custody, you must provide evidence of why it is in the best interest of your child or children. This can be more easily accomplished with the help of a family law attorney.
At age 12, children are legally allowed to express their desires about which parent they would like to live with. This does not guarantee 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. The court, however, makes the ultimate decision based on the child’s best interest.
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 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.
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. There are many factors that can be taken into consideration when deciding whether to grant sole or joint custody. Some factors 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 old enough to express them.
Laurie Peters & Associates, APLC is here for your family during one of the hardest points of their lives. 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.
Contact us and let us help you and your family through this hard time.