Corona Child Custody Attorney
Protecting Your Parental Rights
Child custody battles can be heartbreaking ordeals that cost a great deal
of money, leaving everyone involved unhappy and dissatisfied. In an effort
to minimize these disputes, California family courts have instituted a
mandatory mediation process before parents can proceed to court with their
child custody action. During the mediation process, the courts expect
divorcing parents to focus on one critical factor:
what is truly in the best interest of your child.
Every family law court determines and approves the custody arrangements
for each child.
They separate custody into two categories defined below:
Physical custody: This area of custody determines where the children should live, with which
parent, and for what periods of time. Parents with joint physical custody
usually share legal custody.
Legal custody: The right to make decisions regarding a child’s health, education,
and upbringing. Joint legal custody does not necessarily imply joint physical custody.
Common Custody Arrangements
Physical and legal custody is further defined by the court or agreed upon
in mediation in several different ways. There are a few combinations of
custody arrangements, best discussed with a talented attorney from our firm.
- Below are terms that summarize them all:
Sole custody: One parent is designated the custodial parent, with the child living primarily
with them. The other parent is called the non-custodial parent. Sole physical
and legal custody is typically awarded when there is a history of abuse
and/or neglect, but this can differ from county to county. A non-custodial
parent may be granted visitation rights, depending on the circumstances
of the case.
Joint custody: Also known as shared custody, parents share responsibility for major decision-making,
and/or physical care of the children. In this scenario, parents work together
and with an attorney to develop and maintain a workable arrangement.
Split custody: This is where each parent takes custody of different children when more
than one child exists in the scenario. Example: son lives with their father,
daughters live with their mother. It's a rare arrangement, but it is pursued
when in the best interest of the children.
Bird’s Nest Custody or “Bird Nesting”: In a reversal of the normal situation (where children change homes at
pre-arranged intervals), "bird nesting" requires parents to
take turns living in the family home while the children stay put. This
is a way to have the parents work around the kids instead of the reverse.
How Custody is Determined During the Divorce Process
Questions of custody tend to arise early on during divorce proceedings.
Short-term solutions are usually easy for couples to determine, but the
long-term awarding of custody and visitation rights are much more hotly
contested. In these cases, litigation is often the only possible route
to developing a strong and fair custody agreement.
- Custody is resolved throughout the divorce process in the following ways:
Temporary hearing: Typical legal proceedings can take months, so if you need an expedited
solution from a judge that temporarily provides relief for a specific
complaint, your attorney will suggest a temporary hearing. When custody
is contested, the result of such a hearing is a
temporary custody order. Temporary custody is generally granted to the parent who stays in the marital
home, barring proof that arrangement won’t benefit the child in
question. Temporary custody should have no influence on the final permanent
Mandatory mediation: In mediation with divorcing couples, spouses will work with a neutral
third party to attempt to resolve their disagreements. In some cases,
both parties can still be represented by individual attorneys to ensure
the protection of their and their children’s best interests. In
some cases, parents use mediation to resolve child custody while keeping
the remainder of divorce issues—like property division—open
for a judge to decide.
Custody evaluation: If there is no agreement, the court may require a custody evaluation to
be conducted. A licensed, court-appointed mental health professional—
like a psychologist or a social worker—will conduct the custody
evaluation. They report their professional opinions based on the following:
interviews with both parents together or individually, interviews with
the children, observations on the children with each parent, conversations
with teachers, and possible psychological testing of both parents and
children. This can take many weeks, and a ruling will not be made until
the final report is completed and presented to the court.
Trial: The state of California family law courts decide contested custody according
to the best interests of the child or children. Determining what is in
their “best interest” may include review of several factors,
including: age, parent connection and attachment, who the primary caretaker
is, the parents’ physical and mental health,
if there is any past or present domestic violence, and more.
Understanding Your Visitation Rights
Visitation is among the most contentious issues in a divorce action that
involves child custody. As a non-custodial parent, it is important to
understand your rights and have a legal advocate who can help you pursue
them. Only in extreme scenarios will a court deny visitation rights; however,
they may order supervised visitation.
When a court determines the visitation rights of a non-custodial parent,
parents must work out a precise schedule with the actual details. More
frequently, courts will set up a detailed parenting schedule, called a
fixed visitation schedule. This includes the times and places the non-custodial
parent may visit with the children, as well as other restrictions.
Child Custody Modifications
Once custody is in agreement or as ordered by the court, parents may return
to court to
modify the original arrangement. To support a modification request, the parent requesting the modification
must prove a significant change in circumstances. We highly recommend
working with an attorney to assist and guide you through a modification
of child custody court order. They can review your current orders and
give you the best strategy for your specific case, as they are very familiar
with local courts and standard rulings for cases similar to yours.
Ready to Get Started?
Our attorneys provide effective and aggressive representation designed
to protect your rights, serve the best interests of your children, and
help you avoid many pitfalls associated with a do-it-yourself divorce.
Put the experience and efficiency of Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC
to work for you.
Call our office directly at (951) 666-5191 or contact us online today to
free phone consultation with our firm.