San Diego Child Custody and Visitation Attorney
Child Custody & Visitation Issues in California
Even though your relationship with your spouse may be rocky, it should have no impact on the relationship you have with your children. Every parent has the right to a continuing and meaningful relationship with their children. If you are getting divorced or separated, you'll want to ensure that you will continue to have quality time with your children and have a say in their upbringing. To ensure that your parental rights are secure, you'll need a written child custody and visitation agreement that is legally binding.
Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. has been helping San Diego parents maintain meaningful relationships with their children for 35 years. Let us do the same for you. If you are in the process of a divorce or separation and feel your parental rights are in danger, call Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. for a free case evaluation at (858) 458-9500.
Determining Child Custody in San Diego
When a divorce or separation involves child custody, California courts always consider what is in the child's best interests, first and foremost. This usually involves joint custody of both parents because the courts believe that an equal relationship with both parents is important in a child's emotional and social development. However, if the courts feel that it is in the child's best interests, they will grant primary custody to one of the parents. The criteria upon which this decision is made includes the following:
- The age of the child
- The health and safety of the child
- The willingness of the parent to be involved in the child's life
- Existing emotional ties between each parent and the child
- Each parent's ability to meet the child's needs (economical, emotional, environmental)
- Each parent's lifestyle
- The stability of environment each parent could provide
- What impact a change in status quo would have on the child
If the child is over the age of 12, California family court will take a child's parental preference into account when awarding primary custody.
Types of Visitation Arrangements Possible
In most cases, the parent not awarded primary custody will still have visitation rights. Visitation agreements are based on a child's best interests and the situation of the parents. In California, there are four basic types of visitation agreements:
- Scheduled visitation: The court can work with both parents to draw up a detailed visitation schedule to prevent conflicts and confusion. A visitation schedule can include holidays and other special occasions, such as birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and vacations.
- Reasonable visitation: Reasonable visitation is an open ended agreement where the parents work out a flexible visitation schedule according to their schedule and the child's schedule. This type of visitation agreement works when the parents get along and communicate well.
- Supervised visitation: When a child's safety and well-being under the supervision of one parent are in question, supervised visitation can be allowed. This visitation can be supervised by you, another adult, or a professional agency. Supervised visitation is often ordered when one parent has a history of abuse, neglect, drug use, or other behavior that may put the child in danger.
- No visitation: If the child's physical or emotional safety is in question, even during a supervised visitation, an order of no visitation can be issued.
Contact a Dedicated San Diego Family Law Attorney
If you are a parent involved in divorce or separation proceedings, you'll want an experienced San Diego family law lawyer to oversee any child custody and visitation agreements you engage in. Call Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. today for a free consultation at (858) 458-9500.
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