Orange County Child Custody Lawyers
Child custody is a very emotional subject for a parent, as there are few things more precious than your child. Merely considering the thought of joint custody or losing custody entirely can be heartbreaking. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced family law attorney who can represent you in court, working to ensure that the child custody arrangement is a favorable one.
Our lawyers work with parents who are going through a divorce, already divorced parents and never married parents. We can also represent a mother or father who is seeking to regain custody following a foster care placement or a social services placement with a family member.
When you trust your case to the attorneys at The Sarieh Law Offices, you’ll gain peace of mind and confidence knowing that you’ve hired an experienced family law specialist with a certification from the State Bar of California.
Our team of Orange County family law attorneys is here to help you get and maintain child custody. We understand what’s at stake, and we take an aggressive stance when it comes to representing our clients and guarding their interests.
If you need help with a child custody matter, or another family law issue, such as child support, divorce, a legal separation or an adoption, the experienced attorneys of Sarieh Law Offices are here to help. Get a fully confidential case evaluation by calling (714) 542-6200.
Common Questions and Concerns About California Child Custody Laws
Child custody is an emotional subject, and there are a number of laws on the topic. Our California child custody lawyers have compiled information on a few of the most common questions and concerns on this topic.
What are the Types of Child Custody?
In the State of California, there different forms of child custody. The judge will make a determination for physical custody and legal custody. A parent with physical custody actually has the child in their care. Legal custody refers to the parent who is authorized to make legal decisions on their child’s behalf, including medical decisions, education-related decisions and so on.
In addition, the courts can opt to grant sole custody or joint custody.
In the case of sole custody, just one parent cares for the child 100% of the time (although the other parent may be permitted visitation rights.) In this situation, one parent is typically afforded both physical custody and legal custody.
In the case of joint custody, the child will be in the care of both parents, although the division is not always 50-50. With joint custody, both parents typically share physical custody and legal custody.
What Factors Are Considered When Deciding Child Custody?
Child custody determinations can be a challenging and often, the parents cannot arrive at an agreement, leaving the final decision in the hands of the courts.
When deciding child custody, the judge strives to determine what arrangement would be in the child’s best interest.
This requires a comprehensive evaluation of the situation, including:
- the environment where the child would live;
- the parent’s ability to provide for the child financially;
- the parent’s ability to care for and spend time with the child;
- the parent’s ability to meet the child’s medical needs;
- the parent’s ability to meet the child’s educational needs; and
- the parent’s overall physical and mental health.
In some cases, the Department of Social Services may be involved. If this is the case, then the courts will typically place a great deal of emphasis on the social workers’ findings and recommendations.
Does the Child Have a Say in Child Custody Decisions?
If a child is over the age of 12, the courts may consider their preference when it comes to child custody and/or visitation. This would be just one of many factors that are considered by the judge.
If a Parent is Gay, Can This Interfere with Their Ability to Get Child Custody?
A parent’s sexual orientation does not typically have an impact on their ability to get custody of their child.
In fact, California does recognize same-sex marriage, so a portion of child custody cases involve same-sex couples who have separated.
A parent’s sexual orientation would only be considered if it could be proven that there is some adverse impact on the child. More often, other factors come into play, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse and other criminal behavior.
How is Child Custody Different from Child Visitation?
Child custody refers to caring for the child on a daily basis, whereas child visitation involves brief visits that allow a non-custodial parent to maintain some sort of relationship with the child.
Child visitation arrangements are established in cases where sole custody is awarded to another party. The non-custodial parent can then request child visitation rights.
When deciding if child visitation privileges are afforded to a parent, the courts will evaluate the parent’s ability to keep the child safe and healthy while in their care. The goal is to allow a child to maintain a relationship with both parents whenever possible, but visitation requests may be declined if the court believes there is a risk to the child’s welfare.
In cases where a family is involved with the Department of Social Services and there is some history of abuse, drug usage or criminal behavior, it may be decided that the non-custodial parent can have supervised visitation while in the company of a social worker, for instance.
How Do I Request a Change in My Child Custody Order?
If there has been a significant change in circumstances, you can ask the courts to revisit your case. A significant change in circumstances could include getting a job after a period of unemployment, getting your own home (with room for your child) or a significant change in your physical or mental health condition.
A change in a child custody arrangement could also result in a change to your child support order, as custody is a primary consideration when determining child support payments.
Trust Our Family Law Attorneys for Help with Child Custody Issues
Child custody cases can be very emotional and there’s a lot at stake – nothing less than the opportunity to be a part of your child’s life as you watch them grow up.
At Sarieh Law Offices, we work with families across Los Angeles and Orange County. You can enjoy added peace of mind knowing that our elite legal team includes experienced family law specialists who have been certified by the State Bar of California.
The attorneys of Sarieh Law Offices are also available to assist with other family law issues, including child support, child visitation arrangements, divorce, legal separations, and adoptions.
Contact our attorneys to get a free, fully confidential case evaluation. Just call (714) 542-6200.