Child Custody Attorneys | The Law Offices of Nigel Burns

Los Angeles Child Custody Attorneys

Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers Specializing in Complex Cases

Types of Child Custody

One of the most contested and emotionally charged issues in the area of family law is child custody and visitation. For most people, there are few things, if any, as important to their happiness and well-being as their children. 

With work hours, the commute, and other obligations, the time that we get to spend with our children is already limited, so it’s normal to want more time if you don’t have full custody. Our attorneys are experienced in negotiating and litigating child custody disputes. Not all custody determinations are contentious, but since divorces are already emotional, custody can also be a heated topic.

Our attorneys can work with you to negotiate a custody and visitation plan, which is agreeable to all parties involved. However, if custody determinations become contentious, you need an experienced family law attorney in your corner who will fight to make sure that you and your children’s interests are protected. The following information may be helpful for you to understand the basics of how child custody and visitation work in California.

Child Custody and Relocation

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

Legal custody is the responsibility for making decisions regarding a child’s healthcare, education, and welfare. For instance, someone with legal custody controls what vaccinations the children will receive and what schools the children will attend. In California, parents may be given joint legal custody or sole legal custody. 

Joint legal custody means that the parents share responsibility for making such decisions. Solo legal custody means that one parent has the right to make those decisions on behalf of the children. 

Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the children actually live. As with legal custody, physical custody can be joint or sole. Joint physical custody means that the children spend a portion of their time with each parent. Solo physical custody means that the children live with only one parent. Oftentimes when one parent is given sole physical custody, the other parent has visitation rights; however, this is not always the case. 

Legal custody and physical custody are distinct issues legally. Therefore, custody arrangements can vary. The child support payments made by either parent will also reflect the custody agreement.

How Custody is Determined 

Custody can be determined through negotiation, litigation, or temporarily through a protective order. However, the way that a California family court determines custody comes down to the “Best Interests of the Child.” 

The court will look to the following factors to determine what is in the best interests of a child:

  • The health, safety and welfare of the child
  • History of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent
  • The nature and amount of contact with both parents
  • The child’s ties to school, home, and community
  • The ability for the parents to care for the child
  • The age and health of the child

Custody and Visitation Modifications 

Circumstances in life are constantly changing. This is especially true in the years following a divorce proceeding. Sometimes the parent whose home provided the best environment for the children at the time of the divorce, no longer serves the child’s interests best. Courts are willing to modify child custody and visitation orders upon proof of certain changed circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions About  Child Custody & Visitation

As you move through the custody process, you’ll likely have plenty of questions, such as: 

  • Do custody hearings favor mothers over fathers? 
  • How is custody handled with same-sex parents?
  • Can a Parent Moving Out Hurt Their Chances of Gaining Custody?

Our lawyers for getting sole custody understand that most parents suffer extreme anxiety when they think about losing custody of their child. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that you can review before coming into your hearing.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Abuse During Visitation?

If an ex-spouse was violent to you and your children during your relationship, they're likely to extend the same behavior during child visitation. Your judge should make a ruling based on the domestic violence history of the spouse.

Often, judges assign supervised visits to keep you and your child safe when the other parent visits. There are licensed supervisors in charge of such visits and third-party mediation through a mutual agreement.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

In California, grandparents can have reasonable visitation to see their grandchildren. When deciding on a grandparent’s visitation rights, the courts will examine whether they had a relationship in the past and if it fits in the best interests of the child.

Do Courts Favor Mothers over Fathers in Custody Cases?

While in the past courts have favored mothers in custody cases, especially when the children were very young, times have changed. Courts determine custody arrangements based on what is in the best interests of the child, regardless of the gender of each parent. Make sure you choose a child custody lawyer for fathers to help you get a good custody arrangement you desire.

How Are Gay or Lesbian Parents Affected by Custody Disputes?

Your sexual orientation should not impact how a judge awards custody, and if you feel like a judge’s bias is clouding your treatment, don’t hesitate to contact a child visitation rights lawyer at Burns Attorneys.

Can the other Parent And I Agree On The Visitation Schedule Without Involving The Court?

Parents can create workable schedules and submit them for review if they don’t want it to be a dispute between attorneys. You know yourselves better than the court. So, both parents can work on the dynamic and let the court review any gray areas to ensure that the final draft has the child's best interest. Make the agreement straightforward and favorable to both parties to avoid conflicts.

Joint Legal Custody of Children and Their Education
Divorce and Separation: The Importance of Being Child-Focused
Legal Resources for For Parents Going Through Child Custody Issues
Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody
Call| Text