Orange County Child Custody Attorney
Child Custody Issues and Arrangements
There are many different issues that arise in divorce and one of the more contested issues is that of child custody. If you have children and you are facing divorce then you will need to come to an agreement or compromise with your spouse as to who will have custody of your child(ren) and how (if) this custody will be divided. If you are unable to come to an agreement peacefully, then your case may go to courtroom litigation where a judge will decide the terms of child custody based on consideration of two primary issues:
- Safety & Welfare
- Frequent and Continuing Contact
The primary concern of the California court is to assure the child will be cared for and that they will be safe, whichever parent seems to provide this better than the other may receive a greater portion of custody. Additionally, if one of the parents is determined to be an abusive parent then they may be denied custody of the child as abuse and domestic violence where a child resides is detrimental to the child. Frequent and continuous contact is important to the court so that children may have a relationship with both of their parents; however, in some cases this is not possible and not recommended due to various violent situations the child may be exposed to.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
There are essentially three types of child custody arrangements:
- Sole Custody
- Joint Custody
- Non-Parent Custody
Sole custody is given to a parent under certain circumstances, and this sole custody can be broken down as exclusive custody, sole physical custody or sole legal custody. Each of these has their own legal arrangements and visitation abilities for a non-custodial parent. Joint custody orders could entail pure joint custody, joint legal custody, joint physical custody or divided or split custody. In some cases, custody will be given to a nonparent individual and biological parents may have some visitation rights. In the midst of a challenging time where the future of your children is at stake, you need to procure the best Orange County child custody lawyer you can find. Do your homework and find a family law attorney that is not only aggressive in the courtroom, but will also look out for the best interests of your children.
What is an Unfit Parent in California?
If you are trying to file against your spouse for being an "unfit" parent in regards to child custody, you have to be able to prove at least one of the following:
- The parent has abandoned the child, or has left the child in the care of others.
- The parent has a chronic mental illness that is not treatable and prevents them from carrying out their role as a caregiver.
- The parent has an alcohol or drug addiction that interferes with them carrying out their role as a caregiver.
- The parent has sexually abused the child.
- The parent has abused or neglected the child.
At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With in California?
Any court will always determine custody based on the best interests of the child. However, there are cases where the preference of the child is taken into account. While no case is ever identical, a judge will more likely give preference to a child that is older than the age of 14. However, the reasons as to why the child has a preferred parent will also be taken into account.
Can I Still Get Custody if the Child is not Biologically Related?
Custody is determined based on a number of factors, but biological relation is not necessarily one of them. If you are a legal parent of the child, meaning that you adopted the child as your own while you were still married to your ex-spouse, you have legal grounds to petition for child custody and the court will view you as a parent with the same claim as the biological parent.
Need a lawyer for a child custody case in Mission Viejo?
It is important that you have a skilled Orange County child custody attorney on your side throughout your divorce situation so that you may be able to obtain reasonable arrangements and a favorable outcome to your case. Do not hesitate to retain our legal services in your case as we will be able to advise you of any repercussions that you may incur due to the action you are taking. We have more than 30 years of experience and will be able to provide you the representation you will need on your side. We will fight to see that you achieve your goals and desires regarding your case and that your children are provided with the best possible arrangements for their wellbeing. Contact a Mission Viejo divorce lawyer to schedule a case evaluation today.
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