Lake Elsinore Child Custody Lawyer

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Lake Elsinore Child Custody Lawyer

Child Custody

Lake Elsinore Child Custody and Visitation Attorney

There are a multitude of reasons parents find themselves in a custody dispute. Whether it is the result of a dissolved marriage or because the parents never chose to marry, anytime a child is at the center of a dispute, it can be a complicated and challenging process. While California seeks to keep both parents an active part of the child’s life, animosity between them can cause very heated disputes that make any hope of an agreement seem impossible. However, California makes it clear that decisions on child custody and visitation will ultimately be made based on what is right for the child.

Whether you are facing a divorce, wish to challenge a standing custody agreement, or are an interested party that feels the parents are unfit to raise a child, custody and visitation litigation should never be handled alone. With the help of an experienced attorney from the Najera Law Group, P.C., you can fight for the interests of the child in your life and ensure that your rights as a parent or interested party are protected in the process. With almost 20 years of experience in family law, our child custody team can help you navigate the complicated legal process.

Types of Custody

California divides child custody into legal and physical custody. Each serves its own purpose and comes with specific rights and privileges.

  • Legal Custody: This is the designation given to the parent who has the legal authority to make decisions for and on behalf of the child. If joint legal custody is granted, both parents share in the decision-making process. If sole legal custody is established, only one parent is responsible for such decisions. The types of decisions parents would need to consider include health, education, and the general welfare of the child.
  • Physical Custody: Physical custody relates specifically to where the child resides. Joint physical custody is an arrangement where both parents are entitled to split time with the child. In an ideal world, this would be a 50/50 split. Sole physical custody grants the direct supervision of the child to just one parent for most of the time, while the other parent is entitled to specific visitation rights. Primary physical custody is used when one parent is in direct supervision of the child for more than 50% of the time. This often occurs when a child needs to stay with one parent more often for the purposes of school or other community obligations. Under primary custody, the non-primary parent will still be granted time with the child, and visitation will be established for holidays and other times of the year.

A Child’s Interests

Ultimately, California seeks agreements between parents that are most beneficial for the child. The choices parents make are not the fault of the child. Therefore, the law seeks to protect their interests. This also helps parents decide when to challenge a standing agreement or what mindset they should have when creating a new one.

Decisions on the interests of the child are determined by several factors, including:

  • The child’s age
  • The state of the child’s health
  • The parent’s ability to care for the child
  • The type of relationship the child shares with each parent
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse exhibited by either parent
  • The location of the child’s school in relation to where each parent resides
  • Any involvement in the community that the child participates in.

These factors, along with others, help determine the living situation that most fits the child’s needs.

Child Custody and Visitation Enforcement

Child custody agreements, including parameters of visitation, are legally binding protocols that parents must follow. While it is uncommon for orders to be intentionally broken, it does happen from time to time. In those situations, you are within your rights to bring legal action against the other parent, which could result in a modification of the order. Common situations that arise include:

  • One parent misses a scheduled visitation.
  • One parent purposely withholds visitation from the other.
  • A minor infraction that interferes with the court order causes contempt.
  • A parent modifies the agreement without the court’s intervention.

These situations, and others, are complicated but can be resolved with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

FAQs About Lake Elsinore, CA Family Laws

How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost in California?

The fees and costs for any child custody case will be determined by the factors of the case. No two are alike, and each requires different levels of involvement from the court and from an attorney. On average, however, a child custody case will cost between $5,000 and $10,000, with the average attorney fee being around $500 per hour.

Who Pays Attorney Fees in Child Custody Cases in California?

In most cases, each side will pay their own attorney fees. However, there are some circumstances in which a judge could order one parent to pay for the other’s legal services. This occurs most often when there is a significant disparity in income between the two parties involved, or if one party is unable to pay their own fees.

Is California a 50/50 Custody State?

California encourages parents to share an equal partnership in raising a child. The state recognizes the importance of both parents’ involvement in the child’s life. However, there is no legal requirement for a 50/50 split of legal custody or physical custody. The state will attempt to create significant opportunities for joint physical custody as long as it is in the interests of the child.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Child Custody in California?

Filing petitions and court documents can often be done independently of an attorney. However, the complicated legal system can bring many twists and turns that are difficult to navigate on one’s own. It is always recommended that you have the help of an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney to help with your case.

Lake Elsinore Child Custody Attorney

Any legal case that involves children should be handled delicately. Often, the child did not ask for or cause any action to bring about the legal situation, but they are often found stuck in the middle of it. While the hope is always that two parents will be able to come to an amicable agreement, that is not always the case. No matter what legal challenge you are facing involving your child, get the help you deserve by contacting the team at the Najera Law Group, P.C. Our team fights aggressively for the rights of your child and for you.