Experienced Family Lawyer Fights for Your Right to Child Custody
Child custody is now referred to as “parental responsibility” and “time-sharing” in California, and it is commonly among the most contentious issues which arise during a divorce between parents. It is also often necessary to petition the family law court for custody in situations outside of divorce, such as when the other parent is perpetrating domestic violence or child abuse, after the dissolution of marriage when the other parent is incapable of providing a safe home for the children, or when you have fathered a child out of wedlock and want to play a role in the child’s life.
Most custody issues are addressed as part of the parenting plan that must be submitted to the court as part of the divorce—the judge will not finalize the dissolution of marriage until proper provision has been made for the care of the children, including a plan which will provide both parents the greatest possible access to the children and which prevents potential conflicts. If you are unmarried, an attorney from our firm may be able to represent you in a paternity, which may include DNA testing to prove that you are the father so that you can petition the court for visitation or joint custody, or even primary custody if the mother is unfit to care for the child.
How Child Custody Is Determined in California
Under California law, each child’s welfare and support is the legal responsibility of both parents regardless of whether the parents never married, are still married or have divorced. Parental responsibility includes the daily supervision and guidance given a child, the financial support provided to house, clothe and feed the child, and the child’s long-term welfare, including physical health, education and upbringing. In any divorce, the court must approve the parenting plan, and the emphasis is always on the best interests of the child—hiring a skilled attorney to advocate on your behalf can make a significant difference in securing the judge’s approval of your plan.
The parenting plan you work out with the other parent or which you receive from the court is a legal document, and it is vital that you abide by its terms in order to avoid being found in contempt of court. Before moving with children who are in your primary custody, it is necessary to petition the court for an official modification of child custody, providing clear and convincing evidence of the necessity of the move and of the fact that it will serve the children’s best interests to come with you. Modifications are also possible when circumstances such as your work schedule change, or when a parent who only has rights of visitation wants to secure shared custody. It may also be necessary to return to court for assistance in enforcing a custody plan, such as if the other parent is consistently interfering with your scheduled time with the children.
Protection for Your Children
If you are seeking custody because you fear for the safety of your child as the result of domestic violence or abuse, do not hesitate to seek the help of a family law attorney at Law Office of Garry Barbadillo. We can assist you in filing for an injunction for protection, with the immediate result being limiting your spouse’s contact with both you and your children. Your custody will only last for the term of the injunction for protection, however, unless you take other steps to finalize the arrangement. Our team understands what a stressful situation this may be for you, and will work to help you protect your children and achieve the peace and safety you deserve.
If you need legal support in any of these concerns, contact us online or call (408) 772-5469 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.