Child Custody Attorneys in Newport Beach
Fight for Your Child's Best Interests With Help From an Orange County Custody Lawyer
Determining custody is a highly important factor that directly impacts your child's life. Having an experienced Newport Beach child custody lawyer on your side can make the legal process easier and will keep your best interests in the foreground at all times. At our firm, we recognize the tensions that are often associated with custody issues and pledge to take an assertive and direct approach to resolve your legal issue.
The Burch Shepard Family Law Group, is located in Newport Beach and represents clients throughout Orange County and the surrounding California areas. We focus exclusively on family law and are led by a team of experienced attorneys. Our partners are both Certified Family Law Specialists and are both graduates of the American Bar Association (ABA) Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute.
In addition to custody and visitation matters, we assist our clients with related matters such as calculating child support, developing a parenting plan, and more.
Protect your child's best interests with help from our team. Contact us online or call us at (949) 565-4158 today.
Custody Arrangements In California
While the courts will examine many different factors when determining custody arrangements, joint custody is typically favored if it is in the best interests of the child. This means that most major decisions will be made by both parents. If joint custody is not in the best child's interests, the courts may decide between legal and physical custody.
Our Newport Beach child custody attorneys have successfully represented our clients in Orange County in a whole spectrum of child custody and visitation issues. We recognize that these issues can be a source of contention both during and after divorce proceedings. Recognizing the strains these legal issues can present, you can be certain that we will work to resolve matters efficiently and reach a fair and reasonable custody arrangement.
How Is a Child's Best Interest Determined for Custody Decisions?
In California, judges award child custody in the best interests of the children. This is not a meaningless phrase, but a standard under which all family law professionals must operate. From court evaluators to private attorneys to the judges themselves, child custody decisions are meant to put children's needs first. Even though some parents wish they never had to see their former spouses again, if it is in their children's best interests to split their custody, they must do so.
When domestic violence is involved, however, it is more than just uncomfortable or emotional for women to interact with their abusive former spouses, it can also be detrimental to the children. If a husband had previously physically, verbally or emotionally abused his ex-wife, what is to say that he might not do the same to the children? Moreover, by forcing the parents to interact, there is always the risk that the ex-husband will continue to abuse his wife, potentially causing emotional trauma for the children.
Domestic abuse is a critical issue in California and one that, tragically, is not taken as seriously as it should be. Many individuals in the family law profession are reticent to believe women who say they are victims of domestic violence, yet if they don't, they may be creating a dangerous child custody arrangement for both mothers and children.
Legal vs. Physical Custody in California
In California, there are two types of custody—legal custody and physical custody. While the courts will look at many different factors when determining custody, the most important one is looking out for what is in the best interests of the child.
The varying types of custody in California include:
- Joint legal custody: Both parents share the rights and responsibilities of making important decisions about health, education and more.
- Sole legal custody: One parent is given the rights and responsibilities of making important decisions about health, education and more.
- Joint physical custody: Both parents share significant periods of time with the child, with a relationship that promotes continuous and frequent communication while fostering a growing relationship with parents.
- Sole physical custody: The child lives with one parent and the other parent may see the child, subject to the determination of visitation.
Today, the courts will look to appoint joint custody if it is in the best interests of the child. This means that both parents have joint physical and legal custody of the child(ren). Joint custody, along with a skillfully crafted parenting plan, is often the best way for the child to have a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce.
Joint Custody in California
For many people facing divorce, the single greatest priority is ensuring continued close relationships with their children. The idea of frequent separation from kids under a defined schedule is difficult enough, but the thought of being pushed into the background as the other parent become "primary" in these vital relationships can be devastating.
The idea that there is a standard custody order, placing an often insurmountable burden of proof on the father to win physical custody or equal time, is long outdated in California. Our family courts have broad authority and discretion in deciding custody matters, so long as the orders entered support the health, safety and welfare of children involved.
We have a balanced family law practice focused on helping mothers and fathers obtain the child custody and visitation arrangements that best suit their needs and desires. Our Newport Beach family law attorneys have decades of experience developing strategies and building cases for parents who want equal time with children or have other goals involving joint custody orders.
We guide clients seeking joint child custody through every step of the process, including:
- Discussing and thoroughly analyzing each parent's goals relative to existing family relationships and how the courts are likely to view children's best interests.
- Explaining distinctions between joint legal custody, which provides for shared decision making in regard to children's welfare, and joint physical custody, which provides for significant (though not necessarily equal) continuous time spent with each parent.
- Examining the meaning and real-world implications of other potentially viable options such as pure joint custody and divided custody (sometimes called split custody).
- Collaborating with our client to develop a sound legal strategy for attaining the desired custody arrangement through negotiation, mediation or litigation if necessary.
We are aggressive and passionate advocates for parents who want as much involvement with their children as possible after divorce. Our experience extends to international custody disputes, intensely contested cases involving allegations of abuse or other wrongdoing, quests to establish non-parent custody and other complex matters.
Contact Our Child Custody Lawyers in Newport Beach
Whether the matter involves joint custody, sole custody or a change in custody status, a child custody matter can entail intense emotions. At the Burch Shepard Family Law Group in Orange County, we try to help our clients understand their child custody matter from a legal point of view, free from the clouds of emotion. This enables both the client and the child to adjust to the new reality of their lives in a more positive way.
Whatever your matter of concern, our Newport Beach child custody lawyers can provide representation that protects your rights and interests and those of your children.
Schedule an initial consultation. Contact us at (949) 565-4158 today! We serve clients throughout Orange County and are happy to schedule consultations at a time that is convenient for you.
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