Most parents place their child's well-being as a top priority. If you're currently going through the divorce process in California and have credible concerns your child could be at risk of harm while they spending time with your spouse, you have options. It might be possible to get sole child custody on a temporary basis.
California family laws on temporary or emergency child custody can be complex and confusing. While this article addresses this type of situation, it's not a substitute for a face-to-face meeting with an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney.
Having a disagreement about child visitation are common once the divorce process begins because it's difficult to come up with a child custody plan that gives equal access to both parents.
In situations where you have credible concerns about your spouse's willingness and ability to keep the children safe, then you are potentially dealing with a serious issue that needs to be handled early in the California divorce process.
You have options to protect your kids if you believe they aren't safe be in the custody of your spouse, but you need to understand your concerns need to be valid, credible, and supported by evidence.
In order to give readers a better understanding of the possibility of preventing your spouse from seeing your children during a California divorce, our Los Angeles family law lawyers are providing a review below.
Don't Deny Your Spouse Access to Your Children Without Court Order
It's important to note that you should not just decide on your own to take your children or deny your spouse access to the kids as it could result in serious consequences. You will need to obtain a California family court order by persuading a judge to have credible concerns about the safety of your children.
If you remove your child from their home and take them to another location to deny your spouse access without a court order, you could be accused of parental kidnapping.
If this happens, you might actually lose custody of your children and possibly face criminal charges. This is especially true if you don't have credible evidence your child was in immediate danger.
Deciding on a Child Custody Plan
Obviously, getting a divorce is a very stressful event for any parent. Before a family law court will make your divorce final, you will need to reach an agreement on child custody with your spouse.
To get the best resolution it is important to understand some basic concepts of the law as it relates to custody and visitation. In California, there are two primary ways to hash out a custody plan.
If you are on good terms with your spouse, you can make a reasonable visitation agreement without having to spell out all the fine details.
You could even make a detailed agreement with your spouse that will list specific days the kids will spend with each parent. In a situation where you and your spouse are unable to reach a mutual agreement, then you will have to attempt to obtain an order from the family court.
Supervised Child Visitation in California
There are sometimes credible issues leading to safety concerns about unsupervised parenting time with the kids. If you believe there are legitimate concerns about your kid's safety, you do have the option of asking the family court to deny child visitation or ask the judge to supervised visitation.
California's policy on custody and child visitation matters always considers the “best interest of the children.” In a divorce involving child custody and visitation rights, the judge must consider a wide range of different factors and they might order supervised visitation.
The reasons a family court judge might order supervised visitation include the following:
- History of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, or substance abuse
- When one parent has a history of mental illness
- When there are credible threats of parental abduction
- To allow parents additional time to address to deal with specific issues
- To help introduce a parent to a child after a long absence
If there are serious concerns about a parent's ability to care for a child (physically or emotionally), then the family court judge could decide it's in the best interest of the children to not have any contact with the parent.
The supervised visitation could include the presence of the parent requesting it, or even a social worker or counselor. If you need assistance with child visitation issues, contact our Los Angeles family law attorneys to review the details of your case.
Temporary or Emergency Child Custody in California
During a California divorce, most parents will reach an informal child custody agreement before a final child custody hearing where a family court decides the final custody arrangement.
However, as stated, there are situations when a parent's behavior puts a child in danger or they will attempt to limit the parent's custody time. Under these circumstances, the judge might award one parent temporary or emergency child custody. Let's review each order.
- Temporary child custody could be ordered if there is evidence other parent is denying you access to your child or there are credible concerns about substance abuse, etc.
- Emergency child custody could be ordered if you can prove your child is at serious risk of injury, abuse, abduction, or being removed from the state of California
Normally, the family law court will schedule a temporary custody hearing within a few weeks after you file the petition.
You could also petition the court for emergency child custody through a domestic violence protective order, but these orders are only temporary.
Contact a Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyer for Help
Our goal is to protect parents and children during this difficult time of getting a divorce. Our family law attorneys provide legal guidance so you can navigate the complex divorce process in California.
We listen to the concerns of our clients in order to develop a legal strategy to meet their goals while protecting their legal rights.
We are dedicated in handling child custody issues fairly while protecting the best interest of your child. We need to first closely examine all the details of your situation.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our law firm for a free case consultation at (818) 528-3471.