Roseville Child Custody Attorney
Visitation Attorneys in Roseville, Serving Sacramento & The Surrounding Areas
One of the most crucial family law issues is making sure parents have the opportunity to see their children and care for them. Whether you are going through a divorce, establishing paternity, or seeking modification of an existing parenting plan, the child custody standards and process are similar in many ways. At Cecil Cianci Law, PC, we are intimately familiar with California child custody law. We also handle parental relocation, or move-away cases.
How is Child Custody Determined in California?
The child’s best interest is the standard for determining child custody in California. There are various factors that help the courts decide what is in the child’s best interest. These factors can be organized into two categories: the child’s health and safety, and the benefit the child receives from being in contact with both parents.
While it is beneficial for a child to continue interacting with both parents in most cases, if a parent is unfit to take care of the child because doing so will compromise the child’s health, welfare, or safety, then that parent will not be given custody rights.
Additionally, if the judge believes the child is mature enough to warrant an opinion, then the child’s desires might be an influential factor.
What is an Unfit Parent in California?
If a parent is deemed “unfit” then that parent will not receive custody rights in California. A parent might be unfit if any of the following are true of the parent:
- Exhibits violent behavior
- A history of child abuse
- A history of domestic violence
- A history of substance abuse
- A mental illness
- An unwillingness to set age-appropriate limits for the child
- An inability or unwillingness to care for the child’s needs
What is Reasonable Visitation in California?
Reasonable visitation in California is not a rigid visitation schedule. Rather, it refers to a visitation order that allows the parents to decide visitation based on what they think is a reasonable amount of time. This allows room for flexibility and encourages the parents to cooperate with each other.
Understanding the Child Custody Law in California
There are two types of child custody, including:
- Physical custody, which is the direct responsibility over the child at any given time. In most cases, physical custody is divided based on a parenting plan, with parenting time shared on an equal or unequal basis. The traditional notion of "visitation" is one approach to physical custody.
- Legal custody, which is the control over important decisions about the upbringing of the child, such as education, healthcare, and religion. When appropriate, the parents are typically granted joint legal custody.
The legal standard in child custody cases is the best interests of the child. At our law firm, we vigorously pursue your goals and let the court know why those goals are in the child's interests.
To reduce the impact of the divorce process on your family, we typically pursue a temporary parenting plan while the divorce is ongoing. We then attempt to work out a settlement agreement or, when necessary, resolve the dispute through the trial process.
What Rights Does a Father Have in California?
A father has equal rights as the mother to child custody in California. In each custody case, the judge will evaluate both parents on a level playing field to determine a custody ruling that would be in the best interests of the child. In the past, courts often gave the mother preference for full custody of the child, but now both mother and father are given the same preference on face value. The judge will look at each parent’s relationship with and ability to care for the child and decide based on that.
Mandatory Mediation for Child Custody
If you and the other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan, you need to go through several steps to achieve a resolution.
In most counties, there will be a mandatory mediation session, otherwise known as Child Custody Recommending Counseling.
Some important things to note about child custody mediation:
- A lawyer cannot attend mediation with you.
- We can carefully go over your options and prepare you to handle sensitive issues without antagonizing the mediator or the other party.
- If you do not achieve an agreement in mediation, the mediator will typically submit a recommended parenting plan to the court.
- Both parties will then have the opportunity to consider the report, possibly negotiate some details of the report with the other parent, or argue to the court that the recommended parenting plan is or is not in the child's best interests.
We understand how important child custody is to you and can carefully guide you through each step of the process. Contact our Roseville child custody lawyers to discuss your goals with our team. Call us at (916) 675-3866 today.