It's a common belief that contested child custody litigation is not always in the best interest of the children. This can certainly be true, when divorce and child custody become a major issue.
If both parents can reach a reasonable settlement, why should they let a Los Angeles family law judge decide, correct? Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. In many divorce cases, child custody has to be litigated in order to protect the children's best interest.
You will have to decide whether the issues in your divorce case warrant child custody litigation or whether you should focus you efforts on a resolution with your spouse. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers can help you with this decision.
Our experienced child custody attorneys will take the necessary time to sit down and you and evaluate your case objectively and with a focus on the facts.
This includes the history of of both parent's relationship with the children, and a close examination of any issues with the children's health, education and basic welfare. Our law firm will also take a look at the current child custody arrangement and a breakdown of what the future might hold based on the kid's best interest.
When a marriage comes to an end, there are many different pieces to figure out, and important decisions to make regarding the division of your estate. One of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is allocating the time that you will spend with your children. Any parent who is requesting full child custody in California has to be prepared to submit convincing evidence to the family court.
In California, child custody and visitation arrangements are ultimately decided by a judge, but that judge will take into account the wishes of each parent when making a decision. When it comes to deciding the future custody arrangements for your children, hiring an experienced attorney can make all of the difference.
There are many different pieces of information to consider when making this decision, and a skilled Los Angeles child custody lawyer at our law firm can help you navigate the process and reach the best outcome for you and your children.
Two types of Custody Arrangements
Legal Custody – The term “legal custody” refers to the person(s) who can legally make decisions for your children. These decisions might include:
- Residential: Where the children will live, what is considered their primary residence
- Medical (except for emergencies): Such as dentist and doctor appointments
- Religious: If the children will be raised within a specific religion
- Travel: Making arrangements for both domestic and international travel
- Schooling: Where the children will go to school
In a sole custody arrangement, one parent will be responsible and have the legal right to make decisions for the children. In a “joint” custody arrangement, each parent will have an equal part in making these decisions.
It is important to understand that even in a joint custody arrangement, parents don't have to agree on the decisions, but in order to avoid more time in court and possible litigation, it is definitely beneficial if major decisions are made jointly.
Physical Custody – The term “physical custody” refers to the person(s) that your children live with. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the children may live with each individual parent, but that doesn't mean the time will necessarily be split evenly. In a sole physical custody arrangement, the children will have a primary residence with one parent. The other parent will retain visitation rights, and possibly shared holidays as well.
Common Challenges in Custody Cases
In a perfect world, both parents have the same idea of their children should be raised, and are able to amicably come up with a schedule that benefits the children. In most divorce cases, that's not the reality. Some of the common issues that come up around the conversation of child custody include:
- One parent wants to move out of the state
- Financial differences and determination of child support
- One parent plans to remarry or share a residence with a new partner
- Difficulty agreeing on the physical custody and where the children should live
- Difference of opinion on what religion to raise a child
- Conflicting schedules
- The children are having a difficult time accepting the divorce
- Child's preference and choice on custody arrangement.
If you are having difficulty determining how to establish what is best for your child, one course of action could be to attempt mediation. At the law firm of Furman & Zavatasky, our Los Angeles child custody attorneys can help you make this decision.
It's important to come to an agreement on how you want to handle child custody before going before a judge. Having a unified plan will increase the likelihood that your needs and the needs of your children are met. You don't want to hand these decisions over to a judge without adding your input.
Best Practices for Custody Arrangements
One of the most important things to consider is this – preparation can make all of the difference. Before you start the process of discussing a custody arrangement, write out exactly what you hope for. Then collect documentation.
This could include school records, after-school curricular activity calendars and any other information that might help establish where the child should live. The key here is that the judge will make a decision based on what they determine is in the children's best interest, so if you hope to gain sole custody, that is what you are trying to prove.
Contact a Los Angeles Divorce and Family Law Lawyer
A divorce always comes with unexpected challenges, regardless of the situation. The Los Angeles divorce attorneys at the law firm of Furman & Zavatasky have a wide range of experience working with couples and individuals in the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley area to determine the best custody situation for their children.
Let's schedule an initial strategy session to meet and review all your issues with child custody. Early communication with our law firm is important, but even if you are already in the middle of a contested child custody case, our lawyers can review the situation and provide legal advice and guidance.
Let us help you work out the details so that you don't have to second guess your decision in the long run. Call our law firm at 818-528-3471 for a free initial consultation.
Furman & Zavatsky LLP
15821 Ventura Blvd #690
Encino, CA 91436