Child Custody and Visitation
The greatest concern of every parent is the well-being of his or her child. In a divorce or paternity case, deciding where your children will live and how their lives will change can create the most difficult and contentious disputes in all of family law.
We want to help you find solutions and common ground with the other parent that are in the child’s best interest. We are proud to represent mothers and fathers.
We believe the vast majority of custody issues are best resolved by the parties coming to agreements concerning their children. Where genuine disputes exist, however, we have the skill and experience to represent you in child custody and visitation disputes, including establishing temporary orders at the beginning of the case and obtaining judgments at trial or in post-judgment modifications of orders.
Looking Out For Your Child’s Best Interests
The primary consideration in adjudicating contested custody is the children’s “best interest.” In deciding the best interest of the children, the court’s primary concern is to assure the children’s health, safety and welfare. Additionally, the court must assure that there is “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents and shared parenting after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage or relationship.
Understanding Child Custody And Visitation
Establishing custody rights or a parenting schedule involves understanding concepts of “legal custody,” “physical custody,” “visitation,” “sole custody,” “joint custody” and “primary custody.” Understanding these concepts is essential to making sure the orders you agree to, or that the court orders, are the best ones for you and your children. Failing to understand these concepts and failing to protect your rights can mean that the other parent can move away or relocate with your child in coming years. These concepts can also have important financial and tax consequences.
Under California law, a parent entitled to the custody of a child has a right to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child. It is increasingly common that job changes, remarriage or other legitimate circumstances arise that cause a parent to move and disrupt an existing custodial arrangement.
The right to change the residence of your child or the right to prevent the other parent from moving with your child is a complex issue requiring the balancing of specific factors. Whether you are contemplating moving with your child or opposing a relocation, you need a lawyer with experience. Our Long Beach relocation attorney, Ann Oakleaf. provides reliable advice and advocacy to clients on either side of a relocation issue. We represent parents throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County.
We can answer questions such as:
- What are my rights to move with my child if I share joint custody?
- If I have sole custody, can my move be stopped?
- How can I protect my relationship if my child moves with the other parent across the country?
- How can I prevent the other parent’s move?