Multiple issues make the dissolution of a marriage difficult. One issue that is a sticking point during the process is child custody. This is an area that has so many complexities, and the outcome impacts so many different people. No one wants children to be affected by situations involving adults. But in cases like this, there is no way to avoid that.
To ensure that you have the best representation in your child custody case, Bruce A. Mandel is the attorney you need to contact. He will help you in your custody case and ensure that you and your spouse reach an agreement in the best interest of the children and fair to both parents.
An Overview Of Child Custody In California
Custody is confusing for a variety of reasons. The terminology alone is hard to understand if you aren’t a trained lawyer. Let’s review some of the terms you need to know. Clearing up what these things mean will help you determine what you are looking for in your custody case.
Custody – refers to who has legal guardianship of the child/children after the dissolution of a marriage.
Joint legal custody – this means that both parents share the responsibility for decision making for their child/children. This does not pertain to where a child lives, as that is a separate issue.
Physical custody – this term defines which parent houses the child/children after a divorce. In some cases, parents share physical custody, and the child spends an equal amount of time in each home.
Visitation – some custody agreements end with one parent having custody and the other with visitation rights. Some parents will get to take children during visitation time and do as they see fit. Others require supervised visitation with an official like a social worker monitoring the visit.
Every parent starts with an equal chance at custody. The sex or gender of the parent is not to factor into a judge’s decision making. Mediation is required in custody cases. If the parties can not agree on arrangements, that is when a judge hears the case.
Does A Child Have Any Input On Which Parent They Live With?
Yes, he or she can. Recent changes to California law heavily factor in the child’s wishes. Although a judge is charged with deciding a case in the child’s best interests, heavy weight is given to the child’s preferred parent. A child’s level of maturity is an additional factor weighed by the judge. Fourteen is the age that a child is considered old enough to weigh in on their living situation. Judges also attempt to keep siblings together unless there are extenuating circumstances.
What Criteria Could Make A Parent Appear Unfit For Child Custody?
Since custody is such a multifaceted issue, a judge has many things to consider. One subject considered during the process is if a parent is fit to have custody of a child. A divorce can be quite contentious, and a couple can lob loaded accusations towards each other in an attempt to get an advantage. A judge must make sure to determine fact from fiction during the hearing process.
During the hearing process, a judge could identify something that deems a parent unfit for custody. Some issues are universally viewed as a sign that a parent is unfit. While not an inclusive list, some of those things are abuse (physical/mental/emotional), neglect, mental illness, drug use, or incarceration. Any signs of these will give a judge pause and require further investigation by the court.
How To Prepare For Your Child Custody Case
The most crucial decision in your custody case will be hiring a lawyer. This is not an issue you want to tackle on your own. Your lawyer will make sure you are prepared for your case. They will make sure you have all the required documents for your case and that you are up on your courtroom etiquette. They will also walk you through what to expect in court and how to present the best version of yourself.
Selecting The Right Firm For Your Custody Case
Don’t try to navigate the California court system without a qualified attorney by your side. You want someone who has your best interests at heart and will make sure your interests are recognized and heard. Attorney Bruce A. Mandel has been representing clients in family law cases for over thirty years.
Call our office at 424-250-9130 or contact us online to schedule your consultation. During that first visit, we can assess your needs and help you develop a plan. Make sure to follow our Facebook page for additional updates on our firm and current family law news.