There are a number of difficult aspects that parties go through during a divorce, which include the division of assets and debts and child and spousal support. However, there is nothing more difficult than the issue determining child custody and visitation.
The end of a marriage is emotional, whether or not children are involved; however, when children are involved, the issues become more complex and difficult. Understanding the court procedure of child custody and visitation and the law, may assist with the issues that arise.
Understanding Child Custody
Child custody and visitation litigation is difficult for both parties, and what a child goes through may be even more difficult because they are seeing their family falling apart. Also, when their parents are engaged in a court battle to which the child is privy, they may feel overwhelmed and uncertain.
Child custody and visitation are the terms that the Court uses to draw up the rights and responsibilities between parents for taking care of their children. If the parties cannot reach an agreement for their children, the court intervenes and tries to determine what is in the best interest of their child. See Family Code section 3020.
Preparing for Custody Battle
In the minority of dissolution matters, the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding child custody and visitation without the assistance of the court. However, when the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the determination will be left up to the court.
In San Diego, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, one party files a motion with the court. Once the motion is returned from the court, there will be a date for Family Court Services and there will be a date to argue your matter in front of a judge or commissioner. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they need to prepare to go to Family Court Services and Court.
Step 1: Choosing the Lawyer
If litigation of child custody and visitation is needed, having an experienced and skilled divorce attorney on your side will make a drastic difference. Make sure you choose a divorce attorney after thoroughly researching all your options.
In a custody and visitation case, your child’s future is at stake. You want an attorney that is going to prepare you for Family Court Services and the potential hearing.
Step 2: Prepare the Case
It is essential to understand that an attorney cannot help you in a child custody case if they do not have all the necessary details. An attorney will need all the essential information, such as the amount of time you spend with your children, the activities you do together, and especially the information that may hinder your case. See Family Code section 3011.
Not only will an attorney need details about your relationship with your child, but the details of your child’s relationship with the other parent. Inform the attorney about the amount of time the other parent spends with the children, the time of the day they are away, and if they frequently travel out of town. Make sure you share with the attorney any negative attitude, remarks, threats, or arguments between you and your spouse.
A divorce lawyer will need all the information to create a strong case to help you obtain the parenting plan you desire.
Step 3: Showcasing Yourself as Quality Care-Taker
You need to provide documents that support the claim that your parenting plan is in your child’s best interest, because that is the standard that California uses in determining child custody and visitation.
Need more information about child custody? You can contact divorce attorneys in San Diego by calling the Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC today at 800-769-4748. You can get a free 30-minute consultation with a skilled attorney and prepare well for the custody battle.