Custody/Parenting Plans

Child Custody Attorney Orange County

Child Custody

Child custody matters are of critical importance to our clients. No matter a client’s profession or stage in life, if children are involved in a family law dispute, they want to ensure that their children are cared for and protected. Kaufman Steinberg helps parents in child custody disputes amicably agree to a parenting schedule when they can and to litigate the issue when necessary.

Under state law, judges need to consider each child’s best interests when making child custody decisions. Important factors include the child’s age, health, emotional ties to each parent, ties to school and community, and any history of family abuse or neglect. California child custody laws focus on creating a parenting plan that spells out a custody arrangement’s details to serve your child’s best interests. We help ensure that child custody issues are resolved with respect and in a child’s best interests.

Our Orange County family law attorneys at Kaufman Steinberg have long-standing relationships with judges, court staff, and social services. We can help you find the most suitable parenting plan for your children that is in the best interests of your family. There are two types of child custody that parents can agree to amongst themselves, or failing that, a judge will order:

PHYSICAL CUSTODY

Physical custody refers to the right to have the child live with a parent. When parents share joint physical custody, children live with both parents for significant periods of time. When a child resides primarily with one parent, that parent may have sole physical custody, while the other parent has visitation or parenting time with the child. Parents typically do not “visit” with their child/ren.

Both parents are responsible for child support, meaning the child never suffers due to shared child custody between their parents. Child support payments (or lack thereof) may not be used as leverage to coerce the child’s other parent into giving up child custody rights. Shared physical custody can work well if both parents are able to communicate effectively with each other about parenting issues like how to raise their child/ren. 

However, it can become difficult for both parties involved when there are conflict or communication problems. For that reason, it is important to hire knowledgeable child custody lawyers in Orange County, like the lawyers at Kaufman Steinberg, who know child custody laws and can help you with child support.

An Orange County child custody lawyer can help you obtain physical custody of your child/ren. They will gather evidence, representing you in court to ensure the court knows all relevant information to determine what type of child custody arrangement is in your family’s best interest.

Everyone has a right to speak with an Orange County divorce lawyer before agreeing on any parenting schedule for their children/ren. Your attorney can provide thorough legal advice about your options and tell you how courts are likely to interpret them based on California state laws.

If a parent has legal custody, that parent has the legal authority to make decisions about the child’s education, health, and upbringing, including the ability to decide the school the child will attend, religious education and practices, and the medical care the child will, and will not, receive. Legal custody can be sole (one parent) or joint (both parents).

What does joint physical custody mean? If one parent has sole physical custody, it may be because the other parent lives too far away to accommodate our clients’ visitation plans, or their work schedule makes it difficult for them to spend time with their child/ren. Parents who live too far away from each other or who cannot agree on a custody schedule that fits both of their schedules may opt for joint physical custody instead.

If the parents share joint legal custody, but they cannot agree on a course of action for the child, the disagreement could be resolved by a judge or through mediation. It’s not uncommon for one parent to have sole physical custody, but both parents have joint legal custody, allowing both to input important decisions. There are statutory preferences for custody, and the attorneys at Kaufman Steinberg can educate and inform you about your rights and options.

MODIFICATION

Custody orders are not carved in stone. As time passes, children and parents age and change, and their needs may change. When a custody order no longer serves a child’s best interests, a party can request a change be made. If the parents can’t agree to a proposed change, the disagreement could be decided by a judge, guided by what’s in the child’s best interests.

RELOCATION

Relocation issues arise as well, and this can be the most difficult decision a parent, and a court, will have to make. There are many factors to take into consideration when relocation or “move-away,” issue arises, and we can assist you on navigating through the process. When necessary, the use of an expert may be necessary, which will be addressed in the course of the analysis.

A variety of circumstances may arise where relocation is necessary. Some examples of these include:

– The custodial parent moves away for career (or other) advancements which makes the distance between parents too far to compel regular contact with the noncustodial parent, and vice versa;

– The non-custodial parent moves away, requiring a different visitation schedule

– A move closer to relatives or family friends;

– Issues involving boarding school or college; and 

– When a custodial parent’s job requires them to relocate (such as military deployment).

– New marriage of a parent

The parents and child/ren must consider their best interests before making such a drastic change in life plans. If either or both cannot agree on what that is or how it should be accomplished, then the judge will hold the deciding vote, and the court will consider a variety of factors and arguments to determine what would be best for the family.If you believe a divorce and child custody issues will be in your future, or you’re an unmarried parent of a child. You want to formalize a custody arrangement for your child (or change an existing custody order), contact Kaufman Steinberg today so can be put in touch with a Child Custody Attorney Orange County and be informed about your situation, applicable laws, how they might be interpreted in your case and your best options moving forward.

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