Issues surrounding the children or modifying a child custody/visitation order can be some of the most difficult and emotionally challenging elements of completing a divorce. How do the courts in Vista that serve Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe, Oceanside, and North County handle issues regarding the children and the time each parent will get to spend with them? How do most families determine who will have custody, and what the schedule for visitation (or parenting plan) is going to be? The answers might surprise you, but it is important to contact an experienced Vista child custody and visitation attorney to review the specific circumstances surrounding your family.
When you contact Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation, you will work with me personally until your divorce, child custody issue, paternity or other family law issue has been completely resolved. I take the time to meet with you to understand your goals. Once I have an understanding of your goals, I will work to create solutions that achieve these goals.
The court (and California law) is focused on what is in the best interests (health, safety and welfare) of the child when making a custody order. Often times, it is in the best interests of the child to spend equal time with both parents. It is also important to preserve as much as possible the natural flow and existing schedule, education and activities of the child. Each case is completely different, and the good news is that couples who work together to find common ground can be quite creative in working out a plan that will blend naturally with the rhythms of a child’s life while providing a fairly equal division of time.
I am often asked about issues between the parents such as infidelity, or personal issues such as alcoholism. In my experience issues surrounding infidelity itself will not have a bearing on visitation time and custody. The welfare of the child is paramount. The children need to be in an environment that is safe and where they will most likely thrive. If there are issues of drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence or other forms of abuse the court will carefully consider these issues and they will almost always have an impact on visitation with the children. Physical custody is simply who the child will spend time with, and on what the parenting time share is.
Legal Custody is the right to make important decisions in the life of a child such as choices regarding education, religion, medical treatment and extra-curricular activities. Legal custody of the children is usually given to the parents of a child jointly, or to one of them individually. Custody can also be granted to a grandparent, relative or other party based on a complex series of factors. For this discussion, we will stick with the actual parents. If unmarried, custody will almost always belong to the mother unless the father has legally asserted his rights under California law (a paternity action). California does not presently favor or establish joint custody over any other option (from a legal perspective), it is a starting point. The court usually looks to both parents, and if they are unfit for some reason, will look next to family in an effort to protect and preserve the best interests of the child.
There are few issues that more important to most people than their own children. If you are in the process of seeking a divorce or modification of custody/visitation orders, it is important to work with an experienced and proven child custody and visitation attorney. I invite you to contact my office for a free initial consultation, or call me at 760-542-6072. I will work to answer all your questions, understand your goals in this sensitive area, and develop strategies that will help us to accomplish your goals.
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