No matter your circumstances, divorce is a difficult process. There are many different things to consider when you negotiate the terms of your divorce, including family structure, finances, and ongoing support. One key element of divorce negotiations is child custody.
Child custody matters are especially complicated because they often include heightened emotions. Most parents love their children deeply and do not wish to see them hurt or upset by the changing family dynamic. Furthermore, the threat of losing time with one’s children can add stress to an already fraught situation.
Although child custody orders are complicated, they are a key part of the divorce process. The best thing you can do for yourself, your children, and your changing family is to hire a child custody lawyer who can help you navigate this process. Our team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, is here to offer expert legal advice during this time.
Our firm has been serving Orange County families for many years. We understand all family law issues and can represent you as you navigate child custody and any related issues. Child custody law is complicated, but our comprehensive experience in the family law sector gives us the experience necessary to fight your case.
We know how important your children are to you and how losing time with them may seem impossible. Because of this, we fight every case ruthlessly so that you can be sure that the court understands your relationship with your children. We can argue for your rights as a parent and navigate your child custody case with professionalism and passion.
You do not have to face your Irvine family law case alone. With a child custody attorney from Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, you can navigate your child custody case with ease.
Child custody is an adult’s legal responsibility to care for a minor. Although many people think that this is a simple concept, in the eyes of the law, child custody is fairly complicated.
California law splits child custody into two major categories: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is the time that a parent spends caring for a child. This involves:
When most people think of child custody, they think of physical custody.
Legal custody is different. Legal custody is the right that a parent has to make major decisions about a child’s healthcare and other legal matters. It is possible for a parent to have physical custody without having legal custody. It is also possible for both parents to share physical and legal custody. It is rare, but not impossible, for a parent to have legal custody without having physical custody.
Overall, child custody is a parent’s right to care for their child in a myriad of ways. When two parents divorce, the court determines which custody arrangement will best support the child’s wellbeing. If the parents were never married, this process may occur after the child is born or when the parents split up.
When the court considers a child custody agreement, their only concern is the child’s wellbeing. They do not consider the feelings or preferences of the parents when making this decision. If you want custody of your children, you need to show the court how you can care for them in a definitive and concrete fashion. If you do not show the court why you would make a good parent, the judge may misconstrue facts about your life or make assumptions about your character.
For example, if you are a mother who works two jobs to make ends meet, the court may assume that you do not have the time or resources to care for your children. If you do not make a case to show the court that you are a fit parent with the ability to have custody, they may give full custody to your child’s other parent.
Having an attorney ensures that the court sees the full picture when they make their decision about your child’s custody. Without representation, the court may not take your perspective into account. An attorney can fight for your right to custody and help to refute any skewed or unfair claims that your child’s other parent levies against you in court.
When it comes to your children, it is important to fight for your rights. Hiring an attorney not only gives you a better chance of winning custody, but it also shows the court that you are serious about caring for your children.
Child custody arrangements vary depending on the needs of the child, the schedules of the parents, and the capacity of each adult to care for the child. Setups are usually personalized for each family, depending on the needs of all involved. However, there are some basic setups that the court may grant.
In a shared custody agreement, both parents spend equal amounts of time caring for the children. For example, the children may spend one week at Parent A’s home and then one week at Parent B’s home, and so on. In these scenarios, both parents are equally capable of caring for the children. Therefore, the court asks that they split the child’s time between the two of them.
Partial custody occurs when one parent has most of the custody while the other parent has it for a minority of the time. For example, Parent A may have the children during the week while Parent B has them over the weekend. Parent B, or the parent with minority custody, still cares for the children on a regular and ongoing basis.
When the court orders visitation, it means that one parent is the primary custodial parent while the other parent has the legal right to see the children for a certain number of hours per month. This may mean that the parent spends an afternoon with the child every other week, or it may mean that the child stays at the parent’s house one weekend per month. The setup may vary, but the non-custodial parent has the right to see the child on a minor basis.
Sole custody means that one parent has full custody of the child, and the other parent does not have the legal right to see or care for their child. Although the custodial parent may allow visits at their own discretion, the non-custodial parent has no legal grounds to demand time with their child.
Child custody negotiations are closely linked with child support negotiations. This is because the law requires that both parents contribute equitably to their children’s upbringing. Two parents may reach an equitable agreement through time, financial support, or both.
When a parent has physical custody of a child, the court assumes that they are spending a certain percentage of their resources to provide housing, food, clothing, and other necessities for the child. Approximately 20% of each parent’s income should go to their child’s wellbeing and upbringing. If one parent does not have custody, or has a minor percentage of custody, the court determines a monthly child support payment that they must pay to the custodial parent to make up the difference. This helps make each parent’s contribution equitable.
However, child support payments are not only necessary in situations of unequal custody. One parent may have to pay child support even if they have equal custody if their income is vastly higher than the other parent’s. For example, if two parents have equal custody but one parent makes $30,000 per year and the other makes $250,000 per year, the lower-earning parent is likely to spend a larger percentage of their income on raising their children. To make this percentage equal again, the higher-earning spouse may make child support payments.
The court looks at a large array of facts when determining child custody. Although their overall concern is for the child’s safety and wellbeing, there are many factors that contribute to this. The court looks at:
Because the court considers so many factors when deciding child custody, having a child custody attorney is especially important. Legal representation can help make a case in your favor with the given facts and bring additional information to the court’s attention if necessary.
Children’s needs change as they grow and evolve. A child custody arrangement that was appropriate at the time it was created may not be appropriate a few years later. In these situations, a modification may be necessary.
A modification is a court process in which a judge reviews a legal agreement and determines if changes are appropriate. If they are, a new agreement is administered, and the changes become legally binding.
If you believe that your child custody agreement would benefit from updates, consult a child custody modification attorney right away. It is crucial that you make any changes through the court system so that they are legal and enforceable by law. If you do not go through the court system, the court cannot enforce the new agreement, and it may put you in a difficult position.
It is important to note that child custody modifications do not occur only because a child’s needs change. A change in a parent’s circumstances can warrant a child custody modification. Some examples of changes in parental circumstances include:
Any major life changes may warrant a child custody modification. However, it is up to you to create these changes in your child custody arrangement. They are not required by law and will only be considered if one parent brings a case forward.
A: You will need an experienced attorney to show the court that you are capable of caring for your children full-time. You will also need to show that the child’s other parent is unfit to have custody of your children for a valid reason. This can be difficult to do, especially if you are divorcing your spouse. The court aims for shared custody when a child has grown up with both parents in the home.
A: Custody cases are often part of divorce proceedings. However, if you are not divorcing the child’s other parent, you can bring a case forward through a family law attorney. They can help you develop and file a claim with the courts to fight for the custody arrangement that you believe is best.
A: The court determines child custody by assessing what is best for the child. They will look at each parent’s financial, social, medical, and emotional situations, as well as their relationship with their child. They may also ask the child for their preference if the child is old enough to develop an independent opinion. The parents’ opinions are rarely considered; the court favors facts over preference.
A: Yes. There is a pervasive myth that fathers do not have the same rights as mothers when it comes to child custody. This is untrue. The court does not consider the gender of the parents when determining child custody, but rather each parent’s ability to care for the child and provide them with the support and love that they need.
If you are undergoing child custody negotiations of any kind, you need a team of attorneys that you can trust. Our firm has been representing families for years, and we have negotiated countless successful child custody agreements.
For more information about our services, contact Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, online today.
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