CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY
Whether during a divorce, or as part of a non-marital relationship, a child custody dispute can be one of the most difficult issues you will face.
You need the right guidance.
Our child custody clients include men and women across Los Angeles. They all share the same fundamental desire: to achieve familial, financial, and emotional stability.
During our initial child custody consultation, we'll ask a series of questions and listen to your unique story to evaluate your case and begin creating a custom strategy.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LOS ANGELES CHILD CUSTODY
Child custody is a legal term for the relationship between parents and children. California courts can issue child custody orders whether the parents are married or not.
Legal custody refers to a parent's right and responsibility to make decisions regarding a child's health, safety and welfare. Legal custody may be awarded to one parent or it may be shared between both parents.
Physical custody refers to who the child will live with. Physical custody can be joint or sole and involves the parenting and custody schedule.
California courts are not permitted to prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent's sex.
Whenever possible, our attorneys negotiate child custody 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.
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.
Either way, you want to work with a Los Angeles child custody lawyer who is prepared, thorough, responsive, and sensitive to your family's needs. It's critical to be empowered with knowledge and guidance during a child custody dispute.
HOW LOS ANGELES COURTS DECIDE CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTES
California judges have wide discretion to issue child custody orders.
First and foremost, judges must consider the child’s health, safety, and welfare.
Second, judges are required to ensure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing -- except when such contact would not be in the best interests of the child.
California courts take a holistic view of the child's life, including academics, health, living arrangements, and more. The Court will look to balance continuity and stability with the need for frequent and continuing contact with both parents when possible.
Los Angeles Family Courts can issue orders relating to private custody evaluations, parenting plan assessments, professionally supervised visitations, parenting classes, parenting communication including on designated apps, and more.
RESOLVING CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTES OUT OF COURT
It is almost always preferable to resolve child custody disputes outside of the courtroom. Contested child custody, with ongoing litigation, is rarely in a child's best interest.
Believe it or not, we've seen even the most contentious child custody disputes settle -- with the right 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.
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.
When needed, we also use mediators, private custody evaluations, private co-parenting counselors, parenting plan assessments, parenting classes, and professionally supervised visitations to help resolve child custody disputes out of the courtroom.
CO-PARENTING AND DRUG, ALCOHOL, OR ADDICTION ISSUES
Co-parenting with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol is one of the hardest things a person can do.
The number one concern is your child's safety and well being. It's critical to put guardrails in place prior to being in crisis mode.
These guardrails must take specific needs into account based on the parent's condition and the age of the child. Some options include drug and alcohol testing, restrictions on driving with the child, and professionally monitored visitation. These can be negotiated out of court or if necessary can be requested as court orders.
We have represented parents on both sides of contested custody proceedings involving allegations of addiction or abuse.
We have represented parents seeking sole custody and parents in recovery who are seeking to reunify with a child.
We have represented parents seeking supervised visits and parents defending themselves from wrongful allegations.
These are very sensitive issues. Whether in litigation or negotiation, you need the right documentation and guidance to protect your child.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS SEEKING MORE TIME WITH CHILDREN
Sometimes, parents withhold visitation as a weapon to hurt the other parent. Sometimes, one parent is overly controlling about the other's parenting time. California courts do not approve of this conduct. It can be resolved in negotiation or via court order.
Remember: it is the public policy of the state of California for children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. This is because it is generally in a child's best emotional, psychological, and spiritual interest to have a relationship with each parent when possible.
In fact, withholding parenting time or obstructing visitation can actually result in a change of custody.
If you're seeking more time with your child, consider the following:
Keep a record of communication and requests for visits.
Keep a visitation journal, inclusive of dates and times.
Suggest use of a co-parenting communication app or mutual co-parenting classes.
Always communicate respectfully and cordially with the other parent.
Be a participatory, active parent.
Remember, you have a right to your child's medical and academic records.
Law Office of
Emily E. Rubenstein
9107 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 450
Beverly Hills, California