Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tips from a Local Custody Lawyer

Custody is complicated, and you need a lawyer on your side.  This is the single most important aspect to any divorce proceeding because you have to live with the results every day until your child turns eighteen.  Unlike a home or a car that you can move on from, the custody arrangement you share with your spouse ties you to that person, regardless of whether or not you want to be.

We understand that in a divorce emotions are high, and it can be difficult to think clearly and to strategies.  That is where we come in.  We can listen to your goals and create a strategy to help you achieve them.  This includes what needs to be done before you ever set foot in a courtroom.  By creating and implementing a clear strategy, you will be more likely to receive the custody arrangement that you desire.

As your lawyer, there is a lot of strategy that goes into preparing for your divorce trial.  Evidence needs to be gathered that shows how involved of a parent you are and why you should be awarded the custody arrangements you are requested.  Times have changed and judges no longer award custody to the mother, simply because she is the mother.  Both parties have an equal chance and many times the only thing in your favor is a good legal strategy.  We understand the importance of preparation and take it very seriously so that we can give our clients their best chance of success.

More likely than not, you will be awarded joint custody in California.  This is where both parents are allowed a set amount of time with the children and can both be involved in the decision making process.  This includes deciding where they will go to school, their religious upbringing, what doctors they see and how they are treated.  Basically, every major decision must be made after agreeing.  Many divorce couples find it difficult to have this level of discussion and come to an agreement.  When this is the case, you are best served by having a mediator assist with the negotiations.

If your day in court has come and gone, you can always have your custody arrangement re-examined.  If you have new facts or the situation has changed, a judge can review this aspect of your case to determine whether or not it warrants reconsideration.  For example, if your job situation has changed or the children are significantly older, the current plan may no longer make sense. If you want to change your custody arrangement, this is called a modification. 

The most important thing to remember with a modification is that it requires something to have changed.  It isn’t enough to change your mind.  The facts and circumstances need to be different in either you or your ex’s life.

If you are getting a divorce, or are thinking about a modification, give us a call. We are happy to assist you and will help you to navigate the choppy waters of a custody battle so that you and your children receive the best possible outcome.