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What Steps do You Need to Take to Acquire Custody of Your Child in San Diego in 2012?

Many divorces in San Diego are bitter and contentious. Some cases are not. Unfortunately, the vast majority of divorces in San Diego, no matter how amicable it appears on the surface, is tinged with an underlying element of some bitterness and, perhaps, even resentment. But this becomes plainly evident and can be magnified if there are children involved and your partner intends to fight a custody battle in the San Diego Superior Court.

The First Thought

When a couple divorces in San Diego, one of the commonest questions that arise is how to obtain custody of a child or the children. There is no set or definitive answer to that because you can reach an out of court parenting agreement about child custody and visitation decisions {which is preferable}, or if that is not possible the decision would be made by a family court Judge in normal court proceedings. The attitude of family courts is that the welfare of the child or children come first and the court decides on what the Judge believes is best for the child.

There are a number of factors that a court will consider, some of them being:

  • The parent’s mental capacity to provide for the child’s physical needs such as food, shelter, and medical care.
  • The health, welfare and safety of the child
  • Any child to whom the child of the divorce is related to by blood, affinity or care taking relationship
  • Nature and amount of contact with both parents
  • Habitual or continual use of illegal or controlled substances and drug abuse by either parent.
  • What the child’s choice is preference is applicable under the law.
  • Any instances of child abuse by either parent

After considering all these factors if the court is still unable to determine what is in the best interest of the child, it might make a decision based which parent is more likely to provide a stable upbringing, cooperate with the other parent, facilitate visitation, promote frequent and continuing contact, maintaining the bond with both parents and other criteria under the California Family Law Code. This decision will be largely governed by the age of the child at the time and what is best for the child at that age.

When you have custody battle on your hands its best to hire an attorney skilled in child custody cases. There are far too many pitfalls in attempting to represent yourself.

Be On the Same Page as Your Attorney

You will need to brief your attorney about your strengths and weaknesses related to child custody as well as those of your former spouse. Your attorney will play on your strengths and highlight your spouse’s weaknesses. Just remember though that your spouse’s attorney is going to do exactly the same thing. Be introspective and be brutally honest in briefing your attorney before you step in front of the Judge. You do not want to give your attorney a gun without any bullets or the wrong sized bullets. Don’t exaggerate or try to hide any details, because if something unexpected crops up it could seriously undermine your case.

You need to be clear about what form of custody you are fighting for. If you are looking at sole legal and physical custody you have to be able to present a strong case of why this is in the best interest of the child. If you are agreeable to a joint custody agreement your attorney will appraise the court about this, but you’ll have to be prepared to negotiate.

Doppelt and Forney, APLC – Family Law Attorneys

The family law firm of San Diego are versed in all aspects of family law including representing parents for child custody and making custody arrangements. Should you like to discuss your situation you could avail of a free 30-minute virtual consultation.
This law firm has been practicing in San Diego and during which it has provided clients with legal services far exceeding expectations for many of their clients. It practices in divorce, as well as nullity, legal separations, and paternity issues in San Diego County. It also appears in cases relating to child custody, child support, child visitation, spousal support and alimony, amongst other facets of the law.

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