Three Things to Know About California Custody Cases
Facing a child custody dispute can bring many unique challenges. Every family law case is different, however there are some essential facts you should know about any California custody matter. If you are considering filing a custody case, or are already facing a custody issue, contact an experienced attorney at Negley Law, APC today.
1) Best Interests Standard
For any child-related family law matter, the child's best interests are top priority. In fact, California state law mandates this standard. This means that in a custody case, the judge will first consider what arrangements are in the child's best interests before considering how the impact on the parents. When determining the child's best interest, a judge will take into account several factors, including:
- The child's age
- The parents' ability to co-parent
- Any instances of domestic violence
- Each parent's ability to provide a stable and loving home for the child
The specific facts in your case will determine your child's best interests, and thus, your custody arrangements.
2) Different Types of Custody
There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Physical custody is generally what people think of when considering custody issues. This type of custody refers to where the child lives, and which parent primarily resides with him or her. All the time the child spends with each parent is considered physical custody. In most California cases, parents share physical custody. Often however, parents do not equally split custody. That is, in many cases the child primarily lives with one parent, while the other parents has visitation access.
Unlike physical custody, legal custody only refers to decision-making authority. When a parent has legal custody, he or she has the authority to make major life choices for the child. These decisions focus on serious life matters, such as:
- Medical treatments
- Religious upbringing
- Even where the child lives - important when considering move away cases
Similar to physical custody, parents can divide the legal custody arrangement. In some cases, each parent will have an equal say in legal custody decisions. In other cases, one parent may have more decision-making power.
3) The Mediation Process
Often, parties to custody cases undergo a process known as mediation to resolve their legal issues. During mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) facilitates a discussion between the parties with the goal of resolving serious issues. For mediation to work, both parties must be willing to cooperate to reach their mutual goal of settling out of court. In cases where mediation can be useful, both parties can greatly benefit. Some of the advantages of a successful mediation include minimizing litigation costs, avoiding trial, and settling the case in a shorter amount of time.
Contact Ventura Custody Lawyers
At Negley Law, APC, our dedicated lawyers have over 15 years of experience helping Ventura County clients through their family law cases. We understand the challenges, both emotional and legal, you may face during your custody dispute. Our skilled attorneys will answer all of your questions throughout the duration of your case, and our entire legal team is here to help. Contact us online today or call our firm at (805) 464-7315 to schedule a free legal consultation.