Child Custody Attorneys in
One of the main contested issues in a divorce case is the custody of minor children
(those under 18 years of age). Before the parties separated, each parent enjoyed full
custody of the minor children. Consequently, there was no issue as to who was the
parent. Up to that point, the parties had been sharing the responsibility of raising
the children and scheduling extracurricular activies with them at any time they chose. After separation, custody of the minor children is divided between the
parents in either a
60/40 time share, 50/50 time share, or it could be divided on some other percentage
basis. The parties can agree to an appropriate time share by stipulation and a court
order or the court will set an appropriate time share that is in the "best interest
of the children."
Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino
The "best interests" standard is a very subjective test. It is almost impossible for
the court to truly know what is in the best interest of the minor children. If the
parents cannot decide, and they raised the children, it is that much more difficult
for the court to make such a finding. Nevertheless, in making this determination,
the court will look at such things as who spent more time with the children, who
bathed them, took them to school, helped with school work, cooked them dinner, etc.
Also, depending on the age and maturity of the child the court will consider the
The care and upbringing of children following divorce is often an ongoing source of
conflict for divorcing parents and will consequently lead to numerous requests for
modification of custody orders. Child custody must address both physical custody, or the
rights and responsibilities regarding the day-to-day care and activities of their
children and legal custody, or the legal rights and responsibilities associated with
the child's upbringing, which includes education, religion, school, and
extra-curricular activities. Courts are favoring joint legal and joint physical
custody and the sharing of ongoing child rearing responsibilities, with the children
residing where it is most practical and where they will flourish best.
Divorcing couples often tackle custody and visitation issues as soon as they
separate. Courts generally honor any custody agreements divorcing parents reach
regarding their children. When custody is contested, most courts will require parents
to participate in a mandatory mediation session. If mediation is unsuccessful, the
court will determine custody. Though rules differ from state to state, most courts
generally reach decisions about custody and visitation after considering what
arrangement will serve the best interests of the child.
Except when parties agree otherwise, courts often impose standard visitation and
custody orders. A typical visitation schedule allows a non-custodial parent to see
the children one night a week, every other weekend and some portion of school and
summer holidays. In order to change a court-ordered custody and visitation scheme the
parent seeking the modification must show a substantial change in circumstances once
there has been a final order. Some states will only consider a request for
modification within two years of an original custody determination if there is a
showing that the child is endangered by the current arrangement. In order to prevent
parents from shopping for friendly rulings in different states, some states will only
consider custody-related requests if the child has been a resident of the state for
six months or longer.
EXPERIENCED CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY / LAWYER
For more information and a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys
call us at 1-800-589-9901.
Serving Orange County, San Bernardino, and Riverside.