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In Need Of A Child Custody Attorney?

Child Custody Lawyers in Los Angeles, CA

At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles child custody attorneys know that when parents divorce, deciding where their kids will live and how they split their time is an overwhelming factor. In fact, it is often too much to consider.

We know that children are one of the main reasons why California parents may delay their plans to separate. Unfortunately, that decision can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically detrimental to everyone involved. When you share minor children with your spouse, and it is time to dissolve your marriage, there are seemingly limitless child custody details you must consider. You do not have to face these decisions on your own. We can help.

When you have a skilled Los Angeles child custody attorney by your side, you will understand the details you must consider, and how the California family laws apply to your case, so you can make informed decisions about both your and your children’s futures. That is why we are here.

Contact our dedicated child custody attorneys in Los Angeles County today, so you no longer fear the unknown, and can move forward with confidence.

Father happily enjoying custody of his daughter


When evaluating a Los Angeles child custody case, a judge will need to examine several factors, specifically those that affect the child’s best interests. 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.

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 a Los Angeles child custody attorney specializing in family law matters, who has taken the time to get to know the parents and child and understands their immediate needs.

California child custody considerations will include, but are not limited to:

  • Age of the child.
  • Where the child currently attends school.
  • Specific needs of the child, and any extenuating or special need circumstances involved in their care.
  • Caretaking ability of each parent.
  • Ability of each parent to provide for the child.
  • Safety of the child.
  • Nature of each parent’s home environment.
  • Each parent’s available time to spend with the child.
  • Child’s relationship with each parent and with other siblings, when applicable.
  • Acts of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse.
  • Evidence of one parent’s drug or alcohol abuse.

When the California family courts are considering who will get custody of the children — especially in contentious marital relationships where both spouses are fighting hard to achieve or retain custody — the judge will seriously evaluate all potentially important factors that he or she deems crucial to the case.

Therefore, it is important to have a skilled Los Angeles child custody attorney by your side during the pre-trial negotiations, during mediation, or when you go to trial, so your side of the story is told and supported with the necessary legal evidence. We can help ensure you are ready to protect the most important things in your life: Your children.


When the California family court issues a custody order, it is broken down into two elements: Legal Custody and Physical Custody.

Depending on the decisions made during the legal proceedings, parents may share both legal and physical custody, or share one — typically legal custody — while one parent gains or retains physical custody and the other is awarded visitation.

  • 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.
  • Physical Custody: 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 child custody cases where both parents reach a mutual accord.


California state law may grant consideration to the child’s preference on where he or she wants to live, though this is only in child custody cases where the child is mature enough to come to an intelligent choice regarding their custody order. Though the Los Angeles child custody laws do not specify a minimum age threshold, courts will heavily consider the wishes of a child who can make informed decisions about where they want to live.


California family courts always prefer parents to negotiate child custody decisions in private, so there is less friction and harm to the children’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being during the divorce proceedings.

However, if you and your spouse cannot decide to split or share custody of your children in private, child custody mediation is mandatory before the judge will hear your case. This does not mean you have to finalize the details in mediation, but it does mean you have to try.

If you cannot finalize your child custody details, the judge will decide for you. This will require both parents to litigate their side of the case inside a courtroom. At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our experienced child custody attorneys in Los Angeles County highly recommend having a skilled litigator by your side during these proceedings, so your legal rights are protected from the start, and you can pursue the outcome you deserve.

We can help. Call us now to learn more.


Whether your child custody and visitation agreement are decided in private, during mediation, or inside the courtroom, the best way to prevent parenting disputes going forward is to ensure a proper plan is in place.

California parenting plans, also called custody and visitation agreements, or timeshare plans, are the parents’ written agreement about how much time the children will spend with each parent, and how the parents will make decisions about the child’s welfare and education.

They should include:

  • Legal and physical custody decisions.
  • Schedules, including weekdays and weekends.
  • Overnight stays.
  • Sleeping arrangements.
  • Homework and other scholastic responsibilities.
  • Extracurricular activities and parent involvement.
  • Summer, winter, and spring break schedules.
  • Holidays, vacations, and birthdays.
  • Third-party visitation with extended family members.
  • Transportation, including car and booster seat requirements.
  • Neutral drop-off locations.
  • Healthcare, including doctor appointments and vaccinations.
  • Discipline methods.
  • Religious practices.
  • Parent-child communication during off days.
  • Cellphone and other communication device access.
  • Internet and screentime use.
  • Rules for meeting new dating partners.
  • Post-judgment modifications processes and procedures.

The more details you can include in your parenting plan, the lesser the potential for disagreements or misunderstandings, which means a more stable future for you and your children.


There are situations where the California family courts can refuse to grant child custody or visitation to a parent. Typically, this is reserved for severe circumstances, such as those that compromise the child’s well-being.

This happens if there is a demonstrable danger to children, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Drug or alcohol use.
  • Evidence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
  • Legitimate fear of abduction.
  • Proof of an unsafe environment.

It is illegal to deny visitation rights to a parent when there is a valid court order in place. Parents cannot deny the other parent of their visitation rights for minor disputes, if they are behind on child support payments, or if they disapprove of the other parent’s new partner. Any unfounded reason for denying child support can land the offending parent in serious legal trouble.

If you believe your child is in danger or have serious concerns about their safety when they are with the other parent, talk to our experienced Los Angeles child custody attorney today to learn more about your legal rights and options to oppose visitation. Do not take these matters into your own hands, or you may be the one facing legal consequences.


Are you or someone you know dealing with a child custody issue in Los Angeles? If so, it is important to have sound legal representation that you can trust. After all, such child custody cases can have life-altering consequences for all involved, especially the children.

Los Angeles, Southern California child custody 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. Our Los Angeles child custody Lawyers understand that any situation involving family can be particularly sensitive – that’s why our legal team of Los Angeles child custody attorneys is committed to working to protect your rights, and those of the ones you love, as they exist under law.


We invite you to contact our team of dedicated Los Angeles child custody lawyers today, to schedule an initial consultation to evaluate your child custody case. To get started, call WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC in Los Angeles today at (310) 552-3505. Contact our Los Angeles family law attorneys for more legal help.

Child Custody Resources for Divorcing Couples

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Frequently Asked Questions for Our Child Custody Attorneys in Los Angeles, California

Yes. However, there may be additional steps you must take to ensure your legal rights are protected, and that you have access to your children. Many couples choose to have children without getting married. When they do, they can protect the father’s rights by ensuring both parents are listed on the birth certificate when the children are born. They may also agree to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage. If neither of these actions occured, you must establish paternity first, which means submitting to a DNA test, before you can follow the legal path to obtaining child custody or visitation rights to the children.

Any claims of child abuse or neglect must be taken seriously and investigated by law enforcement. However, the courts understand that one parent may make false allegations for personal gain, or simply to hurt the other parent. If you are being falsely accused of harming your child, or subjecting your children to dangerous conditions, contact our skilled Los Angeles child custody attorney today for help. We can help defend you against these accusations, and ensure the other parent is held accountable for their deception.

The California family courts acknowledge that there are times when one parent must move to improve their quality of life. Whether it is for a new job, to be closer to family, or other opportunities, there are strict laws that prohibit one parent from simply moving away with the kids.

He or she must demonstrate before a California court why the move is in the best interest of the children, while giving the other parent the opportunity to present his or her side of why the children should not move. The court will attempt to find a middle ground that works for both parties, but their ultimate goal is protecting the child’s well-being and may deny or approve a move-away request based on those factors.

Absolutely not. California state law expressly prohibits using sexual orientation as a factor when determining child custody between parents, just as the court cannot consider a parent’s religion or race when deciding custody rulings.

A new personal relationship should not impact your California child custody proceedings unless your partner is abusing your children physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually, or if your relationship with your new partner is impacting your parenting time with your children. In either case, the other parent may have a valid reason to have their custody rights modified.

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