Huntington Beach Child Custody Lawyer

Huntington Beach Child Custody Lawyer

Huntington Beach Child Custody Attorney

Determining the custody of a child is a significant area of family law that represents some of the most emotionally impactful cases there are. Couples facing separation or divorce may experience further challenges as they dispute custody and visitation rights over their children. However, what is in the interest of the child is always the first priority. If you are facing custody determinations, it is vital that you speak with a Huntington Beach child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

The process of determining appropriate custody arrangements involves several legal considerations and steps. With the help of a qualified and experienced lawyer, you can pursue the maximum custody possible in your case.

Huntington Beach Child Custody Lawyer

Child Custody Advocacy and Representation in Huntington Beach, CA

The legal team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has comprehensive experience handling family law cases with an emphasis on child custody and visitation rights for parents. We are committed to providing compassionate legal counsel to each of our clients in and around the Huntington Beach area, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the child’s interests are preserved in every outcome we pursue.

Our lawyers understand the intricate challenges involved in divorce, separation, and child custody cases. By tailoring our strategies to the unique needs and circumstances of every individual case, we have successfully advocated for parents and their rights to their children. Get started with a consultation to find out what will be involved in your case.

What Is Child Custody?

Although the legal concept of child custody is relatively straightforward, in practice, it can be quite complicated to establish legally. Child custody refers to a parent’s or other adult’s legal right and responsibility to care for a child. California considers two separate types of custody:

  • Physical custody. This is the time that a parent is able to spend with the child and caring for them. Generally, this involves providing housing, food, safety, security, and support. From a practical standpoint, this is what most consider to be custody.
  • Legal custody. This type of custody refers to the legal right of the parent to make important life decisions regarding the child’s welfare, religious upbringing, health care, and education, among other legal matters.

It is quite possible to have one form of custody and not the other, such as having physical custody without legal custody. In many cases, parents share one or both forms of custody of their child, but the court may award one parent sole custody. Once again, the decision will always be made with the interest of the child in mind.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

When parents divorce or separate, or if they are unmarried and decide to break up and go separate ways, then physical and legal custody over a child will need to be determined and established by a court. California courts will always prioritize what is in the interests of the child when considering all factors. This includes what is right for both their physical and emotional well-being.

Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and safe environment will be assessed. Attention will be paid, for instance, to any history of abuse or neglect, whether directed at the child specifically or not. Other factors, such as income, living conditions, work schedule, and general stability, will be considered as determinants in assigning custody.

The court may also entertain personal preferences in some cases, adding weight to the child’s desires or granting arrangement requests that have been agreed upon by both parents. However, if these preferences do not fulfill what the judge believes will ultimately be in the interest of the child, they may deny these requests.

The attorney team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can walk you through any complex issues and court considerations at play in your child custody case. Provided they adhere to what is right for the child, our aim is to assist you in achieving the custody terms you desire by presenting appropriate documentation and evidence of your suitability as a parent, reflecting your ability to provide the needed care and stability for your children.

What Do Custody Arrangements Look Like?

Based on each of the determining factors, there are several potential arrangement outcomes that are possible. The following arrangements represent how custody may be awarded or split between parents:

  • Joint physical custody / joint legal custody. Because it is in the interest of the child to have both parents engage in equal involvement in their care and upbringing, this arrangement represents the ideal situation for California courts.
    Provided there are no issues with stability or safety, the court will attempt to split the child’s time with both parents as equally as possible, with both parents maintaining legal authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s life and welfare.
  • Joint physical custody / sole legal custody. Courts will generally allow shared decision-making privileges to parents who also share physical custody, but it can happen that a court finds one parent better suited to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the child’s welfare. In practice, however, it’s unlikely for a parent to be violating custody by seeking medical treatment, for example, while a child is in their care.
  • Sole physical custody / joint legal custody. This arrangement is very rare, but still possible, in which both parents share decision-making authority over a child, but the child is only able to legally live with one parent. Courts primarily prefer joint physical custody when at all possible.
  • Sole physical custody / sole legal custody. Representing the least ideal scenario, this is common in cases in which one parent is deemed unsuitable for caring for the child or participating in parental responsibility, usually due to substance use, abuse, or neglect.
  • Supervised visitation. As courts will make every attempt to keep each parent as an active member in their child’s life, there may be some arrangements in which visitation is granted to a parent that would not otherwise be granted physical custody, provided their time with the child is supervised.
    The supervisor must be court-approved, such as a professional agency or trusted third party, and is responsible for ensuring the child remains safe.

Every custody arrangement is tailored to each family’s particular circumstances, dynamics, and environments. There is also room for nuance in the degrees to which parents share custody. One parent, for example, may be granted primary custody, with the other sharing a smaller portion of time.

It should be noted that custody arrangements can be changed by future requests if there are significant life changes that warrant the change. It is vital that you work closely with a skilled attorney, whether you are facing initial custody determinations or are seeking to change an existing court order.


Q: How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost in California?

A: In California, the cost of a child custody lawyer will depend on several factors, such as the experience of the attorney and the complexity of your unique circumstances. Generally, family law attorneys will charge an hourly rate, which tends to range between $225 – $500.

Many individuals will secure an attorney’s services with a retainer, usually for between $3,000 – $5,000. You can find out what your financial obligation will be during an initial consultation.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer for Child Custody in California?

A: Though hiring a lawyer for a child custody dispute is not legally required in California, it is nevertheless highly recommended. An attorney can take much of the emotional stress off of you by handling the complex legalities of the case, providing support and guidance, and representing you and your interests in court. Lawyers can also bring their negotiation skills toward securing a favorable outcome in custody determinations, advocating for your parental rights.

Q: What Is an Ex Parte Order in California?

A: An ex parte order is a type of court order that forgoes the usual formal notice to the other party and quickly establishes a temporary legal intervention.

Typically used in emergency situations in which urgency is the priority, ex parte orders represent a critical legal mechanism that helps to mitigate any potential harm or adverse effects to a child’s well-being that would otherwise result from inaction. Subsequent, comprehensive hearings allow courts to make final decisions in the case.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to File for Full Custody in CA?

A: To gain full custody in California, you must first file a petition with the appropriate court. Filing fees may vary but will generally be around $450 paid to the clerk to file the corresponding forms. If, however, you cannot afford the fees, the court may waive the costs. You may qualify if you already receive public benefits, earn less than the set amount, or would be unable to meet your basic needs if you had to pay the fee.

Your Huntington Beach Child Custody Lawyer

No matter what circumstances have led to your child custody dispute case, it is vital that you work closely with a skilled Huntington Beach child custody attorney who can advocate on your behalf and help you secure maximum custody and visitation rights. The lawyers at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, are ready to represent you and negotiate for your parental rights. To get started today, contact our office and set up your consultation.

Huntington Beach Practice Areas

Child Custody

Child Support


domestic violence

Family Law

spousal Support


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