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Los Gatos child custody attorneyWhen married parents get divorced, or when unmarried parents are separated, they will need to settle a variety of legal issues related to their children. Disputes over child custody can often become heated and contentious, and parents may disagree about how they will make decisions about raising their children, where children will live, and a variety of other matters. When addressing these matters in family court, the decisions made will be based on what is in the children’s best interests. Multiple factors may be considered by the court, including the preferences of the children.

When Can Children’s Opinions Be Considered in a Child Custody Case?

There are two types of custody that will need to be addressed by divorcing or separated parents. Legal custody involves the right and responsibility to make decisions about children’s health, welfare, and education, while physical custody addresses where children will live and the time they will spend in each parent’s care. 

In most cases, California’s family courts usually prefer to have parents share legal custody, although one parent may be granted sole legal custody in some cases. Physical custody may also be shared, or one parent may be granted sole or primary custody, with the other parent being granted visitation time.

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Santa Clara County divorce and child custody attorneyIn the state of California, thousands of couples get divorced every year. While a divorce can be emotionally challenging for spouses, the divorce process can be especially traumatizing for their children. Recognizing this, courts in California make decisions on child custody based on what is in the child’s best interests. According to state law, child custody is broken into two different types of custody: legal and physical custody. If you are awarded legal custody of your child, you will have the legal right to make critical life decisions for them. If you are awarded physical custody, you will be granted time during which the child will stay with you. To achieve success in your child custody case, you will want to focus on the following: 

  • Your Goals: The way you approach a child custody case will depend on what you want to achieve during the divorce process. If you are seeking sole legal custody or primary physical custody, it is likely that you will need to resolve these aspects of your divorce in court and demonstrate why you should be the sole or primary caretaker of your child. If you believe that you and your spouse are both capable parents, you will likely be able to develop a parenting plan and joint custody agreement outside of court through negotiation or mediation

  • Cooperating With Your Spouse: While you and your spouse may be ending your marriage, you are still both parents of your child. By working together with your spouse to resolve disputes throughout the divorce process, you can develop the foundation of a new co-parenting relationship that will allow you to cooperate as you parent your children. The overwhelming majority of studies show that children benefit greatly from a continued relationship with both parents, post-divorce. 

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Los Gatos, CA child custody violation lawyerFollowing the finalization of a divorce, both parties will likely feel some level of relief, since they will be able to move on and begin the next phase of their lives. However, there are some cases in which conflicts can continue even after the divorce process has ended. Divorced parents are required to follow the child custody orders established by the court, and if one parent does not meet their requirements, the other parent may need to take legal action. If your spouse has violated your child custody order, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney to determine your legal options.

Examples of Custody Violations 

Custody order violations may pertain to both physical and legal custody. The most common violations involve a parent failing to abide by the terms of physical custody. For example, a parent may be consistently late picking up or dropping off children at the beginning and end of their visitation time, or one parent may refuse to allow the other parent to spend time with children as ordered by the court. Violations regarding legal custody may involve a parent making decisions about children’s education or healthcare without consulting with the other parent, or one parent may refuse to share information such as children’s school or medical records with the other party.

Steps You Can Take 

In the state of California, custody order violations are taken seriously, and they can result in significant legal consequences. If your ex-spouse has committed this type of violation, you will want to document the specific details of how they have violated the court’s orders. This may include noting the dates and times when they did not follow the visitation schedule or gathering other forms of evidence showing that they did not meet their court-ordered requirements. If your ex-spouse has consistently and willfully violated your child custody order, you may ask that they be held in contempt of court. If necessary, you can also petition the court for a modification of your child custody order to address your ex-spouse’s actions and ensure that your children’s best interests are protected.

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Posted on in Divorce

Los Gatos child custody modification attorneyWhen you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, the months ahead are often trying for both parties. Not only does each person have to cope with the difficult emotions that come with the end of a long-term relationship, issues such as the division of marital assets must be resolved. The divorce process can be even more complicated when children are involved. Whether you and your spouse come to an agreement about child custody and visitation through mediation or litigation, you may want to seek changes to the agreement at some point in the future. If you are interested in pursuing modifications to your custody agreement, you should seek out the help of a qualified legal professional. 

Modifying a Child Custody Agreement

In many cases, the easiest way to make a modification is through working cooperatively with your former spouse. If the two of you are capable of having a healthy and professional dialogue regarding what is best for your child, you may be able to come to an agreement entirely on your own and file the modified agreement with the court. In other cases, you can work with a counselor or family law mediator to assist in coming to a compromise. 

While working together is always the best option, an agreement sometimes cannot be reached between the two parents. If the other parent is unwilling to agree to your proposed changes, you will need to request a modification through the court. Once you have filed a petition to modify the agreement, a judge will hear arguments from both sides and make a decision about whether the requested modifications would be in the child’s best interests. 

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