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Los Gatos divorce litigation lawyer

When a child suffers from physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, these actions can impact them mentally and emotionally for the rest of their life. Because of this, child abuse accusations are taken extremely seriously in the state of California. While all child abuse accusations should be heard and respected, there are times when these claims are false. There are a number of reasons why a person may fabricate an allegation, including cases in which a spouse attempts to secure child custody rights during a contentious divorce case. If you have been accused of child abuse, you should speak to a skilled legal professional as soon as possible. 

Child Abuse Accusations in California

In the state of California, there is a thorough process through which accusations of child abuse are analyzed. Under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), an allegation of abuse can come from several parties, such as a child’s teacher or coach. Once an accusation is made, it will be investigated by a social worker. The social worker will determine whether or not the case is unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. In the event that the case is deemed substantiated, meaning that the investigator believes the abuse accusations are more likely than not to be true, the case will be turned over to the California State Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will add information from the case to the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). After the case is added to the CACI, the alleged abuser will be notified that their information has been cataloged. 

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Los Gatos family law attorney for child custody

When a couple makes the difficult decision to pursue a divorce, it is fair to say that they are likely entering a challenging time in their lives. A divorce represents a new chapter for both parties, but it can also come with some significant conflicts. A couple will be forced to resolve various issues as they go about the process of dissolving their marriage. These issues can range from the allocation of marital assets to the separation of bank accounts. One of the most consistently contentious aspects of many divorces is child custody. For divorcing parents, it is important to understand the steps you can take to ensure you will remain a significant presence in your child’s life. 

Child Custody in California 

Here in the state of California, when a child custody case cannot be resolved through mediation, a judge ultimately will decide where the child will primarily reside. The judge will do this by evaluating what is in the best interests of the child. They will consider a variety of criteria, including which parent will provide a safer environment for the child and whether the child would benefit from consistently being around one or both parents. It should be noted that the judge will not consider the gender of each parent when evaluating a case and making their decision. 

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Los Gatos child custody lawyer same sex parents surrogate motherAs family structures have become more diverse in recent decades, child custody issues have become more complicated. Traditionally, the world has followed the “rule of two” and allowed a child to have just two legal parents at birth: the woman who gave birth to the child and her husband (or, if the woman was unmarried at the time of the birth, the child’s biological father could claim paternity). One parent would have to die or legally terminate their parental rights in order for an adoptive parent to take their place.

However, divorce, same-sex marriage, informal parentage, adoption, surrogate pregnancies, and assisted reproduction have all contributed to an increase in family structures involving more than two parents, and American courts are starting to adapt to the idea of tri-parenting.

In 2013, California became the first state to pass a law allowing for a child to have more than two legal, living parents, and a similar law was recently passed in Maine. Courts in at least 10 other states have approved specific cases of third-parent adoptions, dual paternity, “psychological” (non-biological) parents, or “tri-custody.”

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Los Gatos joint child custody lawyerMany divorced parents prefer the idea of joint physical custody of their children versus an arrangement in which one parent has sole physical custody while the other has scheduled visitation. However, when it comes to making it work in the real world, joint physical custody raises a lot of questions. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions:

Does Joint Physical Custody Require an Exact 50/50 Split of Time?

Joint physical custody implies a relatively equal split of a child’s time between two parents. However, the law does not require joint custody to be an exact, 50/50 split of calendar days. A time split of 60/40, for example, may still be considered joint physical custody. There is no hard and fast rule. 

Parents should note that, according to the California Child Support Guidelines, child support payments should be calculated based on the actual percentage of time a child spends with each parent.

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Los Gatos child custody attorneyIn a divorce involving children, one of the most important decisions you will make is, “Who has legal custody of the children?”

The Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody 

Legal custody and physical custody are two separate issues. Physical custody refers to where the children will live. Legal custody describes who has the right to make major decisions about the lifestyle and care of minor children. This article will focus strictly on the definition of legal custody. 

Legal Custody in California

Under California law, the person(s) with legal custody has the right and responsibility to make critical decisions for the minor children, including: 

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