Child Custody And Visitation

At Whipple, Mercado & Associates, LLP, we can help you with the following child custody and visitation issues.

Child Custody: Legal And Physical

Child custody is typically one of the most disputed topics in any divorce that involves children. Child custody involves legal and "physical" custody, and there is a significant difference between the two. In California, the court may grant one or both parties custody. If you and your spouse or partner cannot agree on custody and you choose to have the court decide, California will require that you attend mediation.

Child Visitation Rights

The court will usually grant visitation rights to the noncustodial parent, or the parent who does not have physical custody of the children. The court uses the "best interest of the child" standard in determining a visitation schedule. If there are no domestic violence restraining orders, both parties must attend mediation to work out a visitation schedule. The mediators and ultimately the court look at factors such as the age of the child, where the child would like to live (if over 12 or intellectually mature), and what grade the child is in, among others.

Guardianship In California

Guardians can be anyone other than parents, domestic partners or stepparents. A guardian is responsible for providing adequate care and support for a child in a positive, nurturing environment. The court will investigate the guardian's background to verify that there are no detrimental factors such as drug use or violence that could cause harm to the child. In guardianship cases, the court always must place the best interests of the child at the forefront of any decision.

Move-Away Requests

One of the most contentious situations is when one party wants to move with the children to another location that would negatively affect the other party's custodial time and parental rights. This is called a move-away case. Whether you are the moving parent or the stay-behind parent, there are myriad issues to address when a custodial parent wishes to relocate. Whatever the reason, if both parties do not agree to the move, the moving parent must seek permission from the court. Factors the court considers when a custodial parent is requesting to move from the area include the reason for the move, the effect it will have on the visitation schedule and the effect it will have on the noncustodial parent's relationship with the children.

Contact A Child Custody And Visitation Attorney

For further information or to discuss your child custody issues, please contact our office to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced child custody and visitation attorney. Contact us online or call 925-344-5050 locally or 800-708-3761 toll free.