As a parent, you want to ensure the best possible outcome regarding the custody of your child. The obvious question is — how to do this in the context of divorce or the end of your relationship with the other parent?
The Los Angeles child custody attorneys of Joel S. Seidel & Associates can assist you with this difficult process, whether through mediation and informal resolution or, if necessary, contested litigation.
Why Having A Competent Child Custody Lawyer Matters
During what is undoubtedly a difficult time for you, a competent family law attorney can help you make informed decisions about your child custody and visitation case, so that you reach an agreement that promotes your child's best interests. The team of experienced attorneys at Joel S. Seidel & Associates can provide you with sound legal counsel and represent you in court or in negotiations.
Child custody and the establishment of parenting plans constitute a broad body of law in both case law and statutes. However, in simple terms, the most important consideration in these matters is always the child's best interests.
When a child custody case goes to court, the best-interest determination is left largely to the trial court's discretion. It is therefore important to have on your side a skilled child custody attorney to handle courtroom procedure (and presentation of evidence), ensuring that your rights and your child's best interests are properly represented.
What Does The Court Consider In A Child Custody Case?
Every situation is unique, and family law matters can be complicated. However, in determining a suitable child custody arrangement, courts must consider and effectuate two important public policies:
- Promoting the child's health, safety and welfare
- Ensuring that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated, dissolved their marriage or ended their relationship
The trial court's decision will be upheld on appeal so long as it can be reasonably concluded that the order advances the child's best interests.
While the legal standards for a custody determination are not particularly complex, effectively litigating a child custody dispute is tremendously nuanced, and requires hundreds of decisions in court and out of court. Many of the most important decisions in a child custody dispute are the result of privileged, strategic communications that occur between the client and the attorney on almost a daily basis.
Legal Custody And Physical Custody
In California, there are two types of child custody: legal and physical.
Joint legal custody means that both parents share the right and the responsibility to make decisions relating to the child's health, education and welfare.
Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right and the responsibility to make decisions relating to the child' health, education and welfare.
Joint physical custody means that each of the parents will have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody is shared by the parents in such a way as to ensure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
Sole physical custody means that the child will reside with and be under the supervision of one parent. However, the court has the power to order visitation for the other parent.
It is not uncommon for parents to share joint legal custody, but not physical custody. In these situations, both parents share decision-making responsibility, but the non-custodial parent has visitation rights instead of custody.
When Matters Are Contentious
In highly contested circumstances, child custody cases may involve experts for the court or experts for the parties themselves. These experts may conduct evaluations of the parties and the children. In these cases, an even higher level of legal knowledge and experience is necessary to navigate between the experts, the court and the disputing parties.
Again, many of the most important decisions are the result of privileged, strategic communications that occur between the client and his or her attorney.
Our office has handled literally hundreds of cases involving child custody and visitation — with and without the participation of expert witnesses. We have handled relatively simple child custody issues, as well as the most difficult, including cases involving child abuse allegations and multiple forensic experts. We also help parents modify and enforce child custody orders.
Contact Joel S. Seidel & Associates
We have offices in Century City and Northridge. To schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, contact us online or call 818-488-6423.