Temecula Custody & Visitation Attorney | Parents Rights
The divorce process often comes with many complexities and requires significant financial, emotional, and legal consideration. When a marriage ends and children are involved, it can be a comfort knowing you have an attorney experienced in navigating many dynamics, including same-sex divorce/domestic partnerships and family law. The legal process involving child custody can be stressful.
With over 30 years of experience, the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz proudly offer knowledge and insight to help you through the process as skilled custody & visitation parents rights lawyers in Temecula, California.
When determining an outcome of a child custody claim, the state of California prioritizes the child’s best interest above all. Neither parent will be prioritized based on gender but solely on an arrangement that best supports the child’s overall wellbeing. Unless other relevant factors regarding the child’s safety are involved, California presumes to split the custody rights of the parents equally. However, arrangements regarding parenting plans and visitation schedules still need to be outlined as clearly as possible to help prevent future conflicts between the parents. When agreements are not clearly outlined, disputes are likely to arise, and an experienced attorney can help you protect you and your family.
Temecula, California Child Custody & Visitation Law
In the event that two unmarried parents separate, California law entitles the mother to assume full custody, and legal action is not required.
The Judicial Council of California will consider the following factors to determine the custody arrangement that suits a child’s best interest:
- Child’s age: Children aged 14 and older are considered old enough to express a preference for one parent over the other in many California courts. The courts will take these reasonings into consideration; California law does not give minors legal permission to select their custody status.
- Child’s health: If the child has any health concerns, including special needs or disability, the judge will consider each parent’s ability and willingness to care for the child’s needs.
- Emotional bond: The court will take into consideration the emotional ties each parent shares with the child. Sometimes parents are restricted from bonding with their children due to demanding work schedules. In these cases, adjustments will likely need to be made in order for the parent to better bond with the child.
- Financial status: The income of each parent plays a role in determining their ability to support a child’s needs. If parents share a similar income, a court is likely to suggest splitting the expenses evenly.
- Child’s attachment to their community, home, and school: Family courts in California favor arrangements where a child can stay in the school or neighborhood they are familiar with. However, a court may determine that moving a child is in their best interest if it gives them access to better schools, childcare, or a stronger support system.
- Family history, substance/alcohol abuse, and domestic violence: If one parent has a recent history of substance abuse, criminal history, and/or domestic violence, they could lose custody or even visitation.
California law states the court cannot use religious differences, physical disability, sexual orientation, and lifestyle as grounds to grant or deny a parent custody of a child.
A custody and visitation agreement, or parenting plan, helps you outline how each parent will share the responsibilities of their children post-divorce. When pursuing a custody and visitation claim, there are two different types of custody— legal custody and physical custody.
Physical Custody vs. Joint Legal Custody
Physical custody determines how much time the child or children spend physically with each parent. You can file for joint or sole physical custody. Joint physical custody means both parents will share time to have the children in their physical presence. Physical custody can mean sharing time 50/50 between both parents but can take on many variations. However, sole physical custody means one parent assumes full physical custody of the child. Sole custody may also be referred to as primary physical custody or the child’s primary residence.
Joint legal custody means both parents share responsibility and have the legal right to make decisions related to their child’s health, welfare, and education. In a joint legal arrangement, both parents are required to discuss and reach a mutual agreement for which doctor your child sees, dental care, medical treatments they may need, mental health care, schooling, and their participation in extracurricular activities. Sole legal custody authorizes one parent to make these decisions without the other parent’s consent.
Developing a Parenting Plan with Your Divorce
In addition to determining the custody status and visitation schedule, other suggested details to outline in a parenting plan include:
- Exchanges: Specifying whether the children will be picked up or dropped off at the time of exchange.
- Response time: States a timeline for how long one parent can go without receiving a response from the other parent regarding a decision before they are able to determine an action alone.
- Childcare: This can include an arrangement that requires one parent to offer an opportunity to the other parent to babysit the children before they attempt to contact another childcare option.
- Expenses: This can be specified to your circumstances in your individual plan. California, in general, evenly splits child expenses between the parents if they have similar incomes.
- Health insurance: Determines whether the children are on one parents’ health care plan or both. Either scenario is common in California, so you will determine what is best.
Contact Temecula Child Custody & Visitation Parents Rights Lawyer
Divorce is never easy, but the right attorney can help navigate the challenges of visitation and child custody – the most difficult decision divorcing parents make. Even though the process can feel overwhelming, the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz are here to help. Having a trusted and experienced family law attorney can help you create a parenting plan and navigate your custody and visitation claim more confidently.
Contact the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz to connect with a custody & visitation parents’ rights lawyer in Temecula, California today. We understand how difficult it is to manage custody during a divorce. Our compassionate attorneys have the experience and skills you need to get the best possible outcome in your situation.