Santa Ana Child Custody Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce or separation, establishing child custody and visitation is one of the most essential issues you can address as a parent. The state of California takes legal custody rights very seriously, as they pertain to the health and wellness of the child or children in the home. Creating a child custody order can be a long and drawn-out process, especially if you and your child’s other parent do not agree on a custody arrangement.
With help from a child custody attorney on our team, you can rest assured that your parental rights are advocated for, and your child’s wellness is maintained. At Sarieh Law Offices, ALC, we have years of experience in child custody cases and establishing parenting plans for the child’s benefit. If you are going through a divorce or breakup, don’t hesitate to reach out today. Call 714-694-7723 for a free consultation.
What Types of Child Custody Are There?
Two main types of child custody can be awarded to parents. A custody dispute may happen over one or both of these types of custody.
The two types of custody include:
- Legal custody: Legal custody describes the ability to make decisions about the child’s health, welfare, education, child care, and more. Whichever parent has legal custody will be able to make these decisions independently. If parents are awarded joint custody, they will need to work together to reach these decisions as a team.
- Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the child’s residency or where the child physically lives. Parents may have shared custody, meaning the child splits time between homes. If only one parent has physical custody, the other parent may be entitled to a visitation agreement. The non-custodial parent may also be required to pay child support payments.
Do Child Custody Agreements Have to Be Court-Ordered?
In some cases, parents may agree on a parenting plan or custody rights without the need for a court order. However, the state of California has a legal obligation to ensure that the custody agreement is in the best interest of the child. Even if you and the child’s other parent agree on custody, the agreement still must be brought to family court for review by a judge.
Litigation is not the only option if you and your ex-spouse are having difficulties reaching a child custody agreement. Mediation or assistance from an unbiased third party can help you both reach a compromise about child custody. This agreement must still be submitted to the court and reviewed by a judge for it to be legally binding.
How Does a Judge Reach a Verdict in a Child Custody Case?
In any child custody proceeding, custody will be granted pending approval from a judge. Judges review several factors related to a child’s welfare and best interests before making a decision on full custody, partial custody, or joint custody.
These factors can include:
Under state law, both parents must provide financially for their children. A judge will evaluate the income of both parents to determine what they can contribute financially. Income will also be a factor in determining child support payments.
In many divorce cases, one parent remains in the marital home while the other moves elsewhere. Often, a judge will prefer to disrupt a child’s life as little as possible, allowing the custodial parent to remain in the home while the non-custodial parent moves out. If joint custody is awarded, a judge may require that both parents stay in the same area.
A parent who works from home may be able to provide more stability than a parent who travels the majority of the time. A judge may consider the availability of each parent when deciding on a parenting schedule.
Age and Health of Each Parent
To get custody, parents must be able to care for and raise a child on their own. A parent’s education, responsibility levels, and cognizance may affect this factor.
Child’s Needs and Preferences
Judges often check in with children to determine what kind of custody arrangement they would be happy with. A child’s education, child care, disabilities, or mental state may impact their custody arrangement.
If either parent has a criminal record, especially if it contains child abuse or neglect, this will impact a judge’s decision about child custody.
Can a Child Custody Agreement Be Modified?
Child custody agreements are often secure and cannot be adjusted. The court understands that circumstances may change, and an agreement may need to be modified in extreme cases. If a substantial change has affected your custody agreement or you believe that the agreement is no longer in your child’s best interest, a family law attorney on our team can file a petition on your behalf to prove your custody agreement is untenable. With compelling evidence, you can convince a judge that a change is necessary to modify your custody agreement.
Why Do I Need a Child Custody Lawyer?
Child custody is one of the most important factors during a breakup or divorce. Coming to an agreement with your ex-husband or ex-wife is not always easy, especially without legal representation. A child custody attorney on our team will advocate for your rights to ensure that your custody arrangement is fair and just, whether that’s by assigning sole custody or joint custody. Don’t feel like you must go through this complex process alone. Call Sarieh Law Offices, ALC, today at 714-694-7723 to speak with an experienced attorney and learn more about our services.