Westlake Village Child Custody Lawyer
How Child Custody Is Determined in California?
When two parents decide to divorce, both parents must determine child custody. Divorce will severely affect the child's future, so according to California law, both parents must carefully make the custody decision to ensure the child's best interest happens.
If parents fail to do so, the child could suffer unnecessarily for something, not their fault or decision.
Contact us for a consultation with a Westlake Village child custody lawyer.
Types of Custody
In California, there are two types of custody: physical and legal. The first is where and with whom the child or children will physically reside. Legal custody, on the other hand, is which parent will be responsible for making decisions for the child or children, including decisions on medical care, schooling, activities, and more.
When deciding child custody, the court chooses between four variations:
Sole physical custody
- Only one parent has custody
Sole legal custody
- Both parents share custody
Joint physical custody
- Determines Who the Child Lives With
Joint legal custody
- Determines who makes important life-decisions for the underage child
What Is the Most Common Custody Arrangement in California?
The most common custody arrangement in California is sole physical custody with joint legal custody involved. This arrangement involves one parent having full responsibility while allowing the non-custodial parent to share parenting time with the child, including visitation schedules.
The court may also order temporary custody while the divorce or custody action occurs. The finalized divorce decree or custody order will establish permanent custody.
Important Factors in Child Custody
Child custody matters are often the most contentious aspects in divorce. We understand this fact and we know that when the welfare and well-being of your child is at stake, there is very little you would not do. Difficulties arise when the parties in a divorce or custody case are unable to come to a mutual agreement as to what will be in their child's best interests.
The most common factors that could influence or determine child custody based on the child's best interests are:
- The capability of each parent to financially provide for the child
- Whether or not each parent will be able to maintain a physical home and safe living space for the child
- If each parent can emotionally and spiritually attend to the child's needs and wishes
- How much each parent is willing and able to personally invest in the child's upbringing
- Issues involving alcohol or drug addiction, which may require drug testing the parent in question, can also influence the court's decision regarding child custody
Another key factor in child custody cases is determining not only the child's relationship with each parent, but whether the child has a reasonable preference as to where he or she wishes to live. The guiding factor, and which holds the most influence in child custody cases, is always the best interests of the child.
Our firm knows how complicated child custody cases can become, and we know the extent to which some parents will go to attempt to obtain custody of their child, even if it is not in their child's best interests. Our firm is dedicated to helping you to protect your parental rights and obtain the outcome you feel is best for your children.
Recommending vs. Non-Recommending Mediation
Whether or not mediation will be recommended in your child custody case depends on the county in which you reside. In both Los Angeles and Ventura counties, couples must attend mediation, however, Ventura County is a recommending entity, where Los Angeles County is not. In any county, mediation may be a helpful tool in guiding couples to reach an agreement with less stress and a lower financial burden. This will depend on your unique circumstances as well as whether or not you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding the best interests of your child or children.
When in court, your minor child will be appointed minor's counsel to uncover their concerns and preferences. Like in mediation, minor's counsel is a neutral third-party that solely represents your child. They are not bound by the deeply personal and emotional aspects of the divorce or custody matter and will take into account the special needs of the child, parenting assessments, and the frequent and continuing contact of one or both parents when abuse or neglect is not a factor.
Divorce Orders for Noncustodial Parents: Visitation
Have you been denied custody of your child? Even if this is the case, you still have the right to fight for visitation. This ensures that you still have the right to see your child and spend quality time with them after your divorce is finalized. Without a visitation order, the other custodial parent could refuse you the right to visit your child, speak with them, or contact them in any way. This will be impossible the moment you obtain a visitation order from a family law judge. Visitation rights are usually ordered by a judge when it is proven that severing the noncustodial parent's relationship with their child would not be in the child's best interest. Which parent pays for travel expenses should also be including in a visitation or custody order.
The best interests of the child are always the deciding factor for any matter involving a child in divorce, which is why you need a Westlake Village divorce lawyer who can skillfully build and present a strong argument on your behalf. Attorney Richard Ross has over 30 years of family law experience. He has even been board certified in family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization, which requires extensive testing and peer review. Set up your initial consultation with an attorney from Richard Ross Associates today to find out how we can help you obtain visitation rights in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks.
Modifying Your Custody Agreement
When circumstances change, it is important you speak with an attorney in regards to modifying the terms of your child custody or visitation agreement.
Changes that can facilitate modifications include:
- Relocation out of the county or out of state
- Losing a job or gaining new employment
- Serious medical issues
- Instances of abuse, neglect, or other dangerous circumstances for the child
- What is in the child's best interests or the child's preferences
- Other changes of circumstance
Contact the Team at Richard Ross Associates Today
Searching for an experienced child custody lawyer in Westlake Village, CA? In order to win a custody or visitation case, you will need an attorney who can skillfully build your case to prove that your child's best interests lie with you having custody or visitation rights. Contact Richard Ross Associates to learn how we can provide such capable representation. Attorney Ross has over 30 years of experience in family law and is a board-certified family law specialist. Speak with us today to set up your case evaluation with a Thousand Oaks child custody attorney who can fight for the custody order that you and your child deserve.