Child Custody Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
Child Custody in California
Child custody cases can be particularly sensitive for all parties, especially the children involved. At the end of the day, changes in custody mean significant changes, for both parents and children alike.
When evaluating a child custody case, a judge will need to examine several factors, specifically those that affect the child’s best interests. In order to do this, the state of California has outlined two specific guiding policies:
- Children ultimately benefit from continuous, frequent contact with both parents
- The court’s primary concern must be for the overall health, welfare and safety of any children involved
How Is Child Custody Determined?
Although these guiding policies are in place, the best interest of the child varies on a case-by-case basis. The key to successfully navigating this process is having the appropriate legal representation – specifically an attorney specializing in family law matters, who has taken the time to get to know the parents and child, and has an understanding of their immediate needs.
For example, is the child a baby, or at an age that requires particular care by one of the parents? Are they attending a particular school? Where do the parents reside, and how would a change in custody affect the child’s ability to see both parents? These are all essential questions when assessing the best interest of the child.
California state law also grants significant consideration to the child’s preference, though this is only in cases where the child is mature enough to come to an intelligent choice regarding their custody order. Though the law does not specify a minimum age threshold, courts will heavily consider the wishes of a child who is older and more mature.
On the other hand, there are also situations where a court can refuse to grant custody or visitation to a parent. Typically, this is reserved for severe circumstances, such as those that compromise the child’s well being. This includes cases where a parent has been convicted of a violent crime or abused the child in any way.
Child Custody Options
When a court issues a custody order, it is broken down into two elements – legal custody, and physical custody. It is not unusual for legal and physical custody to be arranged differently.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s individual authority to have a say in major decisions that affect the child’s health, welfare and education. This can be awarded to one parent, or both parents, depending on the situation.
A court may also award parents physical custody, which addresses the child’s physical presence with a certain parent. This can also be split between two parents, something known as joint physical custody, which grants each parent significant periods of physical custody. However, this does not necessarily mean that each parent receives equal time with the child.
Though custody can be ordered through a court, it is possible for parents to come to an agreement regarding joint physical and legal custody. In fact, California law favors this, especially in cases where both parents reach a mutual accord.
Child Custody Attorneys in Los Angeles
Are you or someone you know dealing with a child custody issue? If so, it is important to have sound legal representation that you can trust. After all, such cases can have life-altering consequences for all involved, especially the children.
In Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California, the attorneys at Whitmarsh Family Law, PC are proud to advocate on behalf of families dealing with family law issues, including those looking to establish, modify or enforce child custody orders. We understand that any situation involving family can be particularly sensitive – that’s why our team of attorneys is committed to working to protect the your rights, and those of the ones you love, as they exist under law.
We invite you to contact our team of dedicated attorneys today, to schedule an initial consultation to evaluate your case. To get started, call Whitmarsh Family Law, PC today at (310) 552-3505.