Can a Child Visitation Attorney Strengthen My Case for Child Custody?
Filing for divorce is never an easy process, and when children are involved, the child custody proceedings can be a particularly painful time. If you are determined to receive custodial rights, hiring a child visitation attorney could increase your chances of success. If you would like to speak to a highly qualified legal professional about the benefits of hiring a child visitation lawyer for your California divorce case, call or contact the Simpson Law Group today for an evaluation of your case.
California Child Custody and Visitation
California law and public policy state that the preference in child custody cases is that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents during a divorce or separation case, unless the court is shown otherwise. Child custody and visitation can be separated into two parts — legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the ability of a parent to make decisions about the child’s daily upbringing and well-being. This includes decisions about where the child goes to school, religious upbringing, medical decisions, extracurricular activities and more. Physical custody refers to the time a child is physically with each parent.
Legal and physical custody can either be granted as sole or joint custody between the parents. Sole legal custody means that one parent makes all decisions about the child’s safety, health, education and care. Joint custody gives physical and/or legal custody to both parents, with one parent being the custodial and the other being the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent should strongly consider hiring a child visitation attorney to get the best possible visitation schedule with their child.
What do the Courts Consider?
When determining child custody and visitation, the California courts consider a number of factors. Starting with the presumption that the child should spend time with both parents unless proven otherwise, the courts initially consider what is in the best interests of the child. Some of the factors considered in the best interests evaluation include:
– Stability of the child
– Any history of domestic abuse
– Any history of sexual abuse
– Which parent is more likely to encourage frequent visits with the other parent
– The child’s wishes (depending on age and maturity)
– Any history of drug use
– Home environment
– Any criminal history no
– Each parent’s ability to care for the child, and more.
Options for Establishing Visitation
A custodial visitation schedule is either negotiated by agreement between the parents or ordered by the court. In either case, it is in the noncustodial parent’s best interests to hire an experienced child visitation lawyer to handle the issue. The court first asks the parents to attempt to work out a visitation schedule through mediation or conciliation court. Divorce mediation/conciliation court takes place outside of the courtroom and utilizes a neutral third party to negotiate a visitation schedule that meets the needs of both parents and the child. This method is also preferred because the schedule can be tailored to fit the unique circumstances of your family and possibly grant more time than a court would order.
If the parents cannot agree on a visitation schedule for their child, then the issue will be determined by the family court judge. Here, it is critical that the noncustodial parent has an experienced child visitation attorney by his or her side. An attorney can make the best possible legal arguments for why you deserve as much time as possible with your child when it comes to creating a visitation schedule.
Finally, a child visitation lawyer can also represent you after a visitation schedule has been set. If you believe that the court erred in its setting of a visitation schedule or that a material change in circumstances for you, the other parent, or your child mandates a change in the custodial schedule, the right attorney can argue the need for a modification to the court.
Legal Help for Child Custody: Contact Us Now
If you would like to learn more about how a child visitation attorney can help in your California divorce case, call or contact the Simpson Law Group today to schedule a consultation.