Child Custody Lawyer Walnut Creek, CA
A child custody lawyer Walnut Creek, California trusts handles real, practical issues that arise between separating parents in relation to when and where each parent has custodial time with the kids. Most parent’s find themselves concerned with the potential of losing significant time with their children. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. To determine what situation is in the best interest of the child, the court considers several factors, but let’s come back to that later. Above all, seek a reputable child custody lawyer in Walnut Creek, one with compassion, who will listen and understand your situation and be able to guide you through the challenges in the road ahead.
Here are important terms to understand as you see a Walnut Creek, CA child custody lawyer.
Legal Custody – The parent with legal custody makes the decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of their child. Parents can share joint legal custody or one parent can have sole legal custody (CA Family Code sections 3003 and 3006). Custody is often defined with a percentage (%), such as 50/50, 70/30, etc.
Physical Custody – Joint physical custody means that each parent cares for the child for significant periods of times. Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and visits with the other parent (CA Family Code sections 3004 and 3007). Again, a percentage is often used in the definition of a custody arrangement.
Child Visitation/Timeshare – This is the actual schedule of time that you are to spend with your children. If you and the other party cannot agree on a schedule, the court will make timeshare schedule decisions based upon the best interests of the children. The timeshare schedule may differ based upon the age of the children and their needs. It will define days, times, and places that parties are to exchange a child or children. The two terms, visitation and timeshare, can be used interchangeably. In daily parlance, the terms are often used incorrectly in place of “custody.”
Back to the factors considered by the court when deciding what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the children. These factors include: the ages of the children, each parent’s living situation, each parent’s willingness to support the other’s relationship with the children (and any interference in doing so), each parent’s relationship with the children prior to divorce, children’s preferences, continuity and stability of each parent’s home, past abuse or neglect, and more. In regards to age, younger children generally need to see each parent more frequently than older children. Sometimes, the child’s preference may carry more weight as they age.
Also, the living situation a parent is in should reflect that parent’s desire to be prepared and want to provide for their children; don’t expect a judge to grant full custody if you are couchsurfing. As to stability, a divorce is hard enough on children; courts are not inclined to add to the trauma by placing a child in a situation where a parent has an unsteady job or living situation.
These factors provide a brief summary of only a few common factors. A top Walnut Creek child custody lawyer knows the court and judges and can provide a more tailored approach to the specific facts of your case.
When Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody Cases?
When a romantic relationship ends due in-part to domestic violence or accusations of domestic violence, it can be uniquely challenging for both parties to navigate the aftermath of the breakup. This may be especially true when the romantic partners involved are parents of minor children.
For example, it is not always easy to predict how domestic violence may ultimately impact a child custody dispute. While it would seem fairly intuitive that a child would be kept away from a parent convicted of domestically abusing a co-parent, this is not always the case. Matters may be further complicated when one parent has been accused of domestic violence but not convicted of concrete criminal charges. If you are dealing with this serious situation, contact a child custody lawyer Walnut Creek, CA from the Law Offices of Ariel Brownell.
The Best Interests of the Child Standard
Regardless of the particulars of your family’s situation, any custody dispute you may become a part of will be determined according to the best interests of the child standard. Family law judges are bound to honor this standard when settling disputes involving the custody of minor children. However, the challenging reality of the best interests of the child standard is that it is often quite subjective in practice.
When a parent has suffered abuse at the hands of his or her child’s other parent, it is understandable for that individual to want to keep the child away from the abuser. However as a Walnut Creek, CA child custody lawyer can attest, there are times when a court will not agree to this arrangement.
Many judges would argue that even if a parent is abusive towards another adult that keeping that individual away from his or her child is not in that child’s best interests, provided that the child is not at significant risk of being abused. In other situations, individuals who have been wrongfully accused of domestic abuse are kept away from their children because a judge determines that this arrangement is in the children’s best interests.
It is precisely because the best interests of the child standard is not applied in any uniform way that parents should consult a seasoned child custody lawyer in Walnut Creek, CA if they are involved in custody disputes impacted by violence or accusations of violence. As an experienced child custody lawyer will be able to craft strong legal strategies designed to illustrate why a specific arrangement will serve a child’s best interests. No matter what your family is going through, it will likely be helpful for you to seek legal guidance before your custody dispute becomes increasingly complex over time.
Child Custody Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about child custody generally or child custody matters impacted by domestic violence specifically, please do not hesitate to reach out to a child custody lawyer in Walnut Creek, CA. Because every family’s situation is unique, it is not easy to apply “hard and fast” rules about custody matters without understanding the details surrounding a child’s homelife.
Once an attorney has a better understanding of your family’s situation, he or she will be best placed to advise you of any legal options available to you. Should you decide to pursue legal action in any form, a Walnut Creek, CA child custody lawyer will be able to provide you with necessary support and/or direct you to the most relevant resources available. And because speaking with an attorney does not obligate you to take any legal action whatsoever, you should not hesitate to reach out with questions at any point that they may arise.
Custody is usually intertwined with several other facets of family law and there is a need to consider all of them comprehensively. When you seek a child custody lawyer Walnut Creek, CA needs and want someone who can quickly target the pertinent factors to your case, call the Law Office of Ariel Brownell.