Child Custody

For most parents, the most important issue in a divorce or legal separation case is custody and visitation. The parenting plan is the most significant order which the Judge will make and it is essential to be well prepared for the mandatory mediation. Our San Diego child custody lawyers will assist in preparing you for this mandatory mediation by preparing you in advance of what the legal requirements are and strategies and techniques for obtaining your goals. Most importantly, the perspective of the mediator will be discussed and also what information should be discussed.

In California, there is mandatory mediation. In all custody and visitation cases, the parties must attend the mandatory mediation prior to the Court making any custody and visitation orders with the exception of emergency circumstances such as abuse, molest, neglect, flight and other very limited factors which are not present in most divorce or legal separation cases. In San Diego County at the court houses in San Diego, El Cajon, Vista and Chula Vista the mandatory mediation is called Family Court Services. This is a county organization and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is employed by the Court to assist parents in reaching agreements or, if not, preparing a written recommendation. San Diego County is a recommending County which means that if the parents do not reach an agreement at the mandatory mediation then the mediator makes a written recommendation. This written recommendation is given to both parents and also to the Judge. The Judge follows the recommendations the majority of the time.

There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody means making decisions regarding the health, education and welfare and is generally joint between both parents. There are instances when sole legal custody is granted in extreme cases such as abuse, molest or neglect. In addition, the Court can order supervised visitation which is either a professional or non professional monitor whether or not the custody is sole or joint. A child custody attorney in San Diego can explain how this process works. There is also physical custody and this can either be joint or one parent is the primary physical custodian and the other parent has visitation. This is normally by a set schedule for weekdays, weekends, holidays, school intercession, birthdays of the parents and child{ren} and for vacations as well. While not giving flexibility, a set schedule normally decreases tension and conflict as both parents know when their parenting time is. Some parents “nest” which means that the child stays in one residence and the parents rotate in that residence. Given the acrimony and bitterness of many child custody litigated cases, many parents do not want to sleep in the same house as their ex wife or husband. The standard is “best interests of the child” and this is defined in many ways and includes stability, frequent and continuing contact, bonding and also promoting and encouraging visitation for the visiting parent.

Unfortunately, the most contentious cases involve disputes over the custody and visitation. Many parents spend their children’s undergraduate and graduate educations on legal fees and costs due to the emotional investment all parents have with their children and often also due to bitterness and resentment over the divorce. An experienced child custody lawyer in San Diego will try and assist their client is reaching a reasonable resolution of the parenting plan and try to reduce the tension and conflict between the parties and not escalate it. Unfortunately, many attorneys do escalate the tension and conflict. As such, the right attorney is very important. When you choose an attorney, make an appointment and speak with the attorney who will be handling your case personally. Choosing the right attorney for you can mean the difference between your attorney being the solution to your problem or the cause of more of your problems. Parties going through a divorce have many problems and our firm has had many clients from other law firms retain us due to disappointment with the service of the attorney or other factors. No attorney can guarantee the results however they can guarantee professional service and personal attention.

Contact Us Online or call us at 858-312-8500 in Southern California. Our San Diego child custody attorneys will be pleased to offer you a complimentary and confidential consultation up to a length of 30 minutes to discuss strategies and techniques to assist in protecting your rights and trying to obtain your legal goals.

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