Will I Lose My Kids in a Divorce?

Mission Viejo Divorce Lawyer Addresses Child Custody

One of the most stressful aspects of divorce for parents is issues revolving around child custody. As soon as the prospect of divorce becomes a reality, the first thing that many parents will worry about is whether or not they will lose their kids in the divorce. When parents separate they need to come up with a plan for deciding where their children will live, how they will be cared for, and how they will spend their time.

  1. Will I lose my kids in the divorce? In California, either parent can have custody of the children or both parents can share custody. The judge will usually approve the arrangement (the parenting plan) as agreed upon by both parents, but in all cases, the judge makes the final decision about custody and visitation.
  2. What if my spouse and I cannot agree on a parenting plan? If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan, the judge will make a decision at a formal court hearing.
  3. If we don't agree, will we have to see a mediator? Child custody mediation gives parents the opportunity to resolve disagreements about a parenting plan. With mediation, the parents are assisted by an expert (mediator) who helps parents resolve these disagreements. If the parents are able to work out an agreement, the mediator helps them create a parenting plan that can become a custody visitation order if the judge agrees to sign off on it. In some counties this services is called "child custody recommending counseling" because the mediator can provide a written recommendation to the courts if the parents cannot agree on a workable parenting plan.
  4. Can a history of domestic violence affect child custody? Yes it can depending on the circumstances of the case. If a parent has been abusive towards the other parent or the child, it's important to have a parenting plan that will keep everyone safe. It's important to speak with a lawyer to find the best way to proceed legally. If there is a history of domestic violence, the parenting plan may include supervised visitation, safe places to drop off or pick up the children, or it may involve the parents not seeing each other; for example, one parent drops off the child at school while the other parent picks them up.
  5. Can a parent lose custody if they are convicted of domestic violence? Usually when a judge determines that a case is a domestic violence case, he cannot give custody (sole or joint) to the parent who committed the domestic violence. Instead, that parent would get visitation rights. However, a judge can award joint or sole custody to the parent who committed domestic violence if it is in the best interests of the children and if they have met a number of conditions; for example, the abusive parent has not committed any further domestic violence.
  6. What is a parenting plan? A parenting plan, otherwise known as a "custody and visitation agreement," is the parents' written agreement about when the children will be with each parent and it covers decision making about the children's health, education, and welfare. Ideally the parents come up with a parenting plan together and the judge signs off on the arrangement.

Driven to Protect Your Parental Rights

At The Hunter Law Group, attorney Daniel C. Hunter IV is driven to protect your parental rights; he understands your worries and concerns about child custody and will immediately evaluate your circumstances in order to give you a clear picture of what to expect in your divorce and child custody proceedings. Having an experienced attorney by your side is essential during the divorce process, especially when there are children involved.

Have more questions about child custody? Contact our Mission Viejo divorce attorney at (888) 844-9281!