Campbell, CA Child Custody Lawyers
Providing Parents with Legal Support During Custody Disputes
Child custody is among the most challenging family law matters. It can be difficult to imagine not seeing your children every day after you get court orders to share custody with their other parents. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, we realize what an emotional ordeal this type of legal case is for parents, so you can trust that an experienced child custody attorney will work hard to get you a desirable court outcome whenever possible.
When you come to our law firm for legal assistance with child custody arrangements, you will meet with a skilled child custody lawyer who has handled numerous child custody cases for clients in and around San Jose, CA. So, call our law office today to talk to one of our caring child custody lawyers about your own child custody and agreement.
What’s the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
As you begin your San Jose child custody case, your family law attorney will help you determine what type of custody arrangements to pursue. The two main types of child custody attorneys you will discuss are sole legal custody and joint physical custody.
If you get legal custody of your children, you have the right to make decisions that will affect their lives. For example, you can make decisions regarding their education, religion, and healthcare. You can pursue sole legal custody if you want to be the only parent making these choices. If you trust the other parent to help with these decisions, joint legal custody may be right for you. Experienced family law attorneys in the San Jose area will help clients decide on the right joint custody option depending on the children’s best interests.
Another aspect of your family law case is the issues involved in your parenting plans and determining who gets physical custody. This determines which parent the children live with. If you want them to live with you full-time, you can pursue sole physical custody for the chance to be the custodial parent. However, most San Jose judges prefer both parents to be involved in the children’s lives as long as it’s in their best interest, so joint physical custody is a common court order. This means the children live part-time with each parent. You, your spouse, and your child custody attorneys must decide on the right custody schedule before a judge signs off on your parenting plan.
What Is Visitation?
If one parent gets sole custody of his or her child, the other parent will typically still have parenting time with the children. This is called child visitation. Parents might agree to a set visitation schedule where the noncustodial parent sees the children regularly, such as every other weekend and on certain holidays.
For some parents, allowing visitation without a set schedule makes more sense. For instance, parents find that if one parent lives far away and cannot visit with the children regularly, the visitation order might allow them to see them whenever possible.
Visitation and custody rights often are only granted when the judge believes that spending time with the parent is in the children’s best interests. So, if the children are scared of the parent or may be unsafe with them, visitation and custody orders might not be granted. Sometimes, it may be supervised, so the parent cannot interact with the children alone. If you have questions about child custody and visitation orders, contact our law office to talk to a compassionate lawyer.
What Factors Are Considered in Joint Legal Custody Cases?
In general, San Jose child custody cases strive to consider the children’s best interests. No matter how much parents want full custody or visitation, the court will typically only grant it when it’s clear it’s what’s best for the kids involved. As such, you should focus on their best interest by providing evidence that the children would be safest and happiest in your care. Our team of skilled San Jose child custody lawyers will help with this during the legal process.
These are some of the most critical factors that a judge might consider when deciding on a San Jose child custody case:
- The child’s age and health
- The relationship the child has with both parents
- Which parent could provide a stable life for the child
- How well each parent can take care of the child
- Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse in the parent’s home
A skilled California family law lawyer can show the court that it’s in the best interests of your children to stay with you. Contact our Northern California law firm if you need assistance with the court system regarding custody battles, custody orders, child support, and other family law issues.
Do Children Have a Choice in Custody Disputes?
Parents often wonder if their child will have a say in which parent they would prefer to live with post-divorce. As with most legal issues, the answer is that it depends.
When Children are 14 Years Old or Older
In most cases, the courts will hear the preferences of the children if they are 14 years old or older. It is generally presumed that it is at this age that a child is of a reasonable enough age to form a preference based on practical reasons. Still, if a child who is 14 years old or older does not have a reasonable basis for wanting to live with one parent over another, the court does not have to comply with the child’s wishes.
For example, a child may want to live with their mother, who will have more relaxed rules surrounding bedtime, homework, and the child’s routine. In this case, a judge would likely decide this is not a legitimate reason for the preference and is not in the child’s best interests, regardless of what the child says. The courts also do not have to hear the child’s preferences if they believe it is against the child’s best interests.
Maturity is Taken Into Consideration
It is not only a child’s age that is taken into consideration when determining if a child’s wishes will be heard by the court. The child’s maturity level is, too. If the court believes a child is mature enough to state their preference, they can listen to what the child has to say, even if the child is not yet 14 years old.
For example, a 12-year-old child may realize that their parent has a substance abuse problem. If they raise the issue with a judge, the court may determine that the reason for wanting to live with one parent over another is reasonable and mature. The judge may then determine that upholding the child’s wishes is in their best interest.
Should You Hire Child Custody Lawyers?
At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, we have years of experience handling all kinds of family law and custody issues. If you need legal representation or advice regarding child custody and visitation, child support, or any other legal issues involving parental rights, our attorneys will gladly help you through the legal process. Whether you plan to pursue sole or joint custody or need an experienced team of child custody lawyers to help with your parenting plan, we’re here for you.
Our team understands the impact of child custody attorneys and issues on a family’s life, so we work hard to ensure that parents in Campbell, San Jose, and surrounding areas feel supported throughout their primary custody case. If you’re ready to learn what we can do for you, contact us to schedule an initial consultation.