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Santa Monica Child Custody Attorney

One of the primary reasons divorce cases tend to extend is the need for both parties to sort out arrangements for their children. Questions like which parent should have custody or if both parents should share decision-making rights for the children are constant and crucial. The inquiries seem endless, and a single misstep can spell disaster, affecting your child significantly during and after the divorce in terms of custody arrangements.

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California’s family courts recognize the challenges divorcing parents face in deciding custody arrangements after proceedings conclude. Since each case is unique, custody arrangements and parenting plans must be adapted accordingly. To create the best possible arrangements for you and your children, the assistance of a seasoned Santa Monica child custody lawyer is essential in understanding the legal proceedings for custody arrangements.

Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C.’s experienced team of child custody lawyers provides personalized legal services for clients working through custody arrangements within their divorce cases. Our lawyers offer legal advice and resources, ensuring regular updates on the negotiation progress through personal consultations. We handle your case with care, striving for a final custody arrangement that fosters your child’s well-being while ensuring the support of both parents.

Call Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C. at (310) 807-6759 for your Free Consultation with a Santa Monica Child Custody attorney.

Determining Child Custody

California courts often presume that both parents have the right to be granted custody of their children when handling child custody cases. This mindset enables courts to assess cases impartially and ensure their decisions are in the child’s best interest.

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The Family Code is also quite specific about the criteria courts should use to determine what would be in the children’s best interests. Children will even be allowed to express their thoughts regarding the custody case, as they may have preferences about the custody arrangements.

Moreover, the court will require parents to create a parenting plan that both parents will follow to meet all their child’s needs, particularly in terms of emotional support from both parents. Our Santa Monica child custody lawyer can guide you through the state’s custody laws and help you identify the best legal strategy to fight for custody. We can also serve as your representative when sorting out the parenting plan for the benefit of your children.

Nature of Custody

Custody in California is divided into two categories: legal and physical custody.

Physical Custody

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Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child will reside after divorce or separation proceedings. The parent with custody is the “custodial” parent, while the other is the “noncustodial” parent with visitation rights.

In California, the court may order a joint physical custody arrangement if it benefits the child and allows both parents equal time with them. Sole physical custody means the child resides with one parent while the other has visitation rights.

Legal Custody

Legal custody pertains to a parent’s rights in deciding the child’s welfare. The court can order joint or sole legal custody based on a parent’s ability to determine the child’s best interests. Joint legal custody grants both parents equal decision-making rights, while sole legal custody allows one parent to make decisions without approval from the other party.

If you are uncertain about the best custody arrangement for you and your child, our Santa Monica child custody lawyer can discuss the pros and cons. We will assess your situation, provide legal advice, and build a case to improve your chances of securing your desired custody arrangement.

Child Custody and Relocation

Custodial parents can change their residence and relocate with their children without fearing losing custody rights. However, it is crucial to ensure that the noncustodial parent can visit their children and actively participate in their lives, even after the move.

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Moreover, it is essential to provide the noncustodial parent with advance notice, facilitate discussions to adjust the parenting plan or allow them to voice concerns against the move if they believe it is not in the child’s best interest.

Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C. can assist both parents in resolving any issues that may arise due to relocation and help establish the necessary child custody arrangements before the move occurs.

For the moving parent, we can help you inform the other parent and start the negotiations for the custody arrangement and parenting plan modifications. Meanwhile, we can assist you in countering the relocation if you are a non-relocating parent.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody

During domestic violence cases, the court will apply a ‘rebuttable presumption,’ which assumes that the abusive parent is not fit to be granted custody. The evidence brought by law enforcement and other related agencies will be considered by the court, along with the history of violence committed by the reported parent. However, there are cases where the abusive parent is granted custody, contingent upon meeting strict criteria.

Whether or not the domestic violence charges are proven, our Santa Monica, CA, family law firm can assist you in exploring possible legal actions to fight for custody. You can also rely on us to help you gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate that you have complied with the court’s requirements, even in the presence of a history of domestic violence.

Child Custody Enforcement

Unfortunately, there are child custody cases where parents, whether the custodial or noncustodial parent, ignore or violate the child custody arrangement. Many reasons can be attributed to why this happens, but when it does, the affected parent must report the case to the court. Penalties may be given to the offending parent, such as removal of custody and contempt.

At Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C., we will assign you to one of our experienced Santa Monica child custody lawyers, who will help you prepare the proper evidence for the court. If the custodial parent violates the arrangement, you can trust us to fight for a penalty and adjust the custody arrangements. Our team can also contest the penalties should you have a valid reason for not being able to follow the arrangement.

Free Consultation Today

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While a divorce can disrupt your child’s life, both parents can still create an environment conducive to their growth. Even with the changes, collaborating with your child’s other parent is possible, ensuring they continue to receive the love and attention they deserve, even if the other parent resides elsewhere.

With Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C. as your trusted family law firm, we strive to collaborate with all parties involved to establish an optimal custody arrangement benefiting both parents and the child. Our dedicated Santa Monica child custody lawyers ensure meticulous care in handling negotiations, providing you with comprehensive information about the proceedings so you can actively guide us through your case.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping both of you protect your child’s well-being despite the divorce’s new circumstances.

Call Benefield Law - Family Law Trial Advocates P.C. at (310) 807-6759 for your Free Consultation with a Santa Monica Child Custody attorney.