Child custody and child support are some of the most complex and emotional legal processes in family law, and you want to make sure it's done right.
Whether you were married to the other parent or not, you can seek relief relating to your parenting rights. If you need child support from the other parent or child custody orders, time is of the essence. A Los Angeles court cannot make child support or child custody orders until the appropriate petition has been filed.
When parents are married, California law automatically assumes that the married people are the child’s legal parents. If they are not married, the father or other parent must establish parentage. Failing to do this can impact custody, visitation, and support rights.
A parentage action can be brought by a mother, father, other parent, child, or child’s personal representative. A judge can order DNA testing. Also, a parent can sign a a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity.
That said, child custody and child support representation can take on many forms. Some cases are litigated, some are negotiated, some are a mix of both. Some clients are able to settle directly with their exes, but still need a lawyer to help evaluate offers, guide the negotiation, and draft the settlement paperwork.
"Lawyering up" doesn't need to escalate tensions in a case - in fact, hiring counsel can help resolve parentage, child custody, and child support disputes. That's what lawyers do - solve problems. The right lawyer for you knows how to use legal tools to resolve your case, not over-complicate it. The right lawyer for you will be able to craft a plan to meet your needs and deliver value in the executing strategy.
Whenever possible, our attorneys negotiate child custody and child support disputes to be resolved outside of the courtroom. Contested child custody, with ongoing litigation, is rarely in a child's best interest. It's also time consuming and expensive. A cost-benefit analysis shows that it is almost always best to settle out of court.
That said, we know that many parents have to fight for their children. Sometimes, one parent has addiction issues or has committed domestic violence. Sometimes, parents use withholding parenting time as a weapon to hurt the other parent. For child support, parents are not always forthcoming nor honest about their financial circumstances.
Our attorneys use every tool in the box to ensure we have the documents and evidence we need to prove your case. In a child support dispute, you're entitled to financial records including pay stubs, tax returns, bank and financial statements, credit card statements and more. These financial records can be subpoenaed from the opposing party or directly from financial institutions. We also work with appraisers, forensic accountants, and other financial experts to identify, characterize, and protect assets and income.
You're also entitled to records relating to child custody. When needed, we use private custody evaluations, private co-parenting counselors, parenting plan assessments, parenting classes, and professionally supervised visitations to help resolve child custody disputes.
If you have a child custody or support dispute in Los Angeles, it's important to hire a Los Angeles attorney who is familiar with the local family law judges and with Los Angeles County court room customs and procedure.
With all of this in mind, we work to create specific, custom co-parenting plans that work for your family and negotiate in your and your child's best interest. It's possible to include specific or flexible schedules, guardrails on co-parenting communication, and more.
Whether negotiating, litigating, or both, you want to work with a family law attorney who is prepared, thorough, responsive, and sensitive to your family's needs. It's critical to be empowered with knowledge and guidance.
It's critical to take a holistic view of your child's emotional, psychological, medical, academic, social, and spiritual needs. It's also important to take stock of each parent's temperament, strengths, weaknesses, and parenting history.
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