Experienced Child Custody Attorneys Serving in Mountain View, CA
The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., is here for you when you need guidance and support in your child custody and visitation matters. A Mountain View Child Custody Lawyer will work diligently to protect your parental rights and the best interests of your child or children. We will explain the child custody process to you and tell you how you can take an active, decisive role in your child custody case.
Whether you are married and divorcing or were never married, we have the skills and experience to resolve your child custody issues. Contact our office in Mountain View today to schedule a confidential child custody consultation regarding any child custody problem, including but not limited to, the following:
- Legal custody;
- Physical custody;
- Parenting plans; and
- Custody modification.
How Can a Mountain View Child Custody Lawyer Help?
Child custody is a complicated and emotionally charged legal matter. The best way to handle a child custody case in Mountain View is by hiring an attorney to represent you and protect your rights as a parent. An attorney can answer your legal questions about child custody and child support, as well as give you an accurate and honest overview of your situation. Then, your lawyer will use proven legal strategies to fight for the child custody arrangement that is best for you and your children. Attorney Debra R. Schoenberg has years of experience and expertise in highly sensitive topics in family law, including child custody.
Family Law Matters in Mountain View Involving Child Custody
You may need a Mountain View child custody lawyer for more than just a divorce or legal separation case. Which parent or guardian has custodial rights over a child is an important issue in many types of family law cases. At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we have years of experience advising and representing families throughout California in child custody matters. We understand how to approach many types of cases involving child custody, including:
- Domestic violence cases
- Emergency protective orders
- Custodial rights evaluations
- Visitation rights
- Paternity disputes or establishing paternity
- Child support
- Modification requests
- Parental alienation
- Parental relocation or child move-away cases
- Parental abductions
Our lawyers will always focus on achieving the best outcome for you, your family and your children. We practice child-focused legal services that prioritize the child’s health, safety and happiness above all else. We will work diligently toward a favorable outcome on your behalf, no matter what issues and elements your case involves.
Child Custody in Mountain View, California
Child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of parents for their children. In California, the courts award custody based upon the best interests standard.
To decide what is in a child’s best interests, courts review the following:
- The child’s age and health;
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child;
- The ability of the parents to care for the child;
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse; and
- The child’s ties to the school, home, and his or her community.
The court gives no preference to the mother or father when awarding custody, regardless of a child’s age or sex. Courts cannot deny custody or visitation based on marriage, physical disability, lifestyle, religious belief, or sexual orientation.
Types of Child Custody Agreements in California
In most child custody cases, the courts permit the child’s parents to come up with their own plan for custody and visitation before requiring a judge to intervene. The parents are given the opportunity to create a parenting plan or custody arrangement alone. If the agreement protects the best interests of the child, a judge will sign off without any further hearings or meetings necessary. When parents cannot agree on a custody plan in the best interests of their children alone or at mediation, the judge decides on their behalf.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
In a judge’s custody decision, there are two types of child custody, legal and physical. The parent or parent(s) with legal custody, make essential decisions for their children, such as medical care, religious upbringing, residence, and education. Physical custody pertains to the parent with whom the child primarily resides.
Parents can share legal custody, or one parent can exercise sole legal custody. Physical custody is either shared or held solely by one parent. Usually, the parent whom the child primarily resides with is called the custodial parent. The other parent – the parent without primary custody or with visitation rights – is referred to as the noncustodial parent.
Shared vs. Sole Custody
The other custody decision is how to divide parenting time. California permits both shared and sole custody of children.Shared or joint custody means that both parents divide physical custody between them after a divorce. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. It can mean a 75/25 time-sharing plan, 60/40 joint custody or any number of other combinations. The amount of time that a child spends with each parent depends on the unique circumstances and what is best for the child.
Sole custody means that one parent is given 100 percent of the physical custody of a child (and normally legal custody, as well). This is not the most common custody arrangement in California, as the courts generally hold that a child is better off after a divorce when he or she can maintain meaningful and continuing contact with both parents.
Joint custody arrangements are more common in Mountain View than sole custody decisions. However, if it would be in the best interest of the child not to stay with one parent – such as in a case involving domestic violence, substance abuse or incarceration – the other parent can receive sole custody. The noncustodial parent in this situation may or may not have visitation rights.
Visitation in Mountain View
When parents do not share physical custody, the parent without physical custody receives visitation. Visitation orders are dependent on the best interests of the children and the situation of the parents. There are various visitation orders, including the following:
- Visitation according to a schedule: The parents abide by a detailed visitation plan. This prevents and reduces conflicts and confusion. Visitation schedules include dates and times that the children will be with each parent, holidays, special occasions, and vacations;
- Reasonable visitation: A reasonable visitation order is not as detailed. These are more open-ended orders allowing parents to communicate and resolve their schedules. This plan works when parents are flexible and communicate well with one another;
- Supervised visitation: Supervised visitation is visitation supervised by the other parent, an authorized adult, or a professional agency. Supervised visitation is sometimes for the reintroduction of a parent and their children.
- No visitation: The use of this option is limited to when visitation is against the best interests of the children and is potentially harmful to the children.
Again, the law requires that judges grant custody according to what is in the “best interest of the child.” As a situation changes, the noncustodial parent can petition the courts to modify a visitation or custody arrangement. A parent without visitation, for example, may be able to regain some visitation rights if he or she can prove to the courts that this is in the best interest of the child.
Parenting Plans in Mountain View
In California, parenting plans outline child custody. This is a document describing the legal custody and physical custody arrangement between parents, along with any visitation or time-share plan.
The goal of a parenting plan is to minimize conflict and disagreement regarding children’s schedules and provide children with a consistent schedule. Parenting plans are only enforceable court orders once signed by both parents, their attorneys, and the court.
Parenting plans require a lot of thought and need to focus on the children’s best interests. Items to consider when making a parenting plan include children’s:
- Medical care;
- School holidays and vacations;
- Time with each parent; and
- Daily routines.
Parents and the court should easily understand parenting plans. They should also be flexible to accommodate unforeseeable events like illness.
Unless there is domestic violence or another form of abuse, a parenting plan has stipulations regarding:
- Both parents having information about the children;
- Both parents calling the children;
- Both parents viewing the children’s medical and school records; and
- Each parent having the other parent’s address, phone numbers, and additional contact information.
Above all, children benefit from consistent parenting plans that allow quality time with each parent.
Mountain View Child Custody Modification
As children age and years pass, parenting plans become outdated and obsolete. Children take on new interests and activities, and parents remarry, move, and start new jobs. These changes often call for a modification of the original parenting plan.
If parents agree on changing their parenting plan, they can do so with the court by an agreement. If not, a new court action is necessary for a child custody modification. To modify a custody order, the court requires that a significant change of circumstances has taken place since the last custody order and that significant change affects the children’s best interests.
A final custody order is modifiable only when it is in the best interests of the children and needed to preserve a stable and consistent custody arrangement with their parents.
Contact a Mountain View Child Custody Lawyer at The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.
The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., wants to help you with your child custody case. We will provide you with sophisticated Mountain View family law counsel who are compassionate and responsive to your legal needs and concerns. We will craft a litigation plan developed with strategies personalized to meet your unique needs and goals.
Allow us to provide you with the excellent service, and real solutions you deserve by calling and scheduling a confidential consultation today.