Child Custody

Experienced Southern California Child Custody Lawyers

Safeguarding the Interests of You & Your Children

Child custody is among the most challenging and emotionally charged aspects of a divorce. At Divorce Authority, our primary goal is to encourage clients to prioritize their children, as divorce can have significant and potentially long-lasting effects on them.

Unfortunately, co-parents often have differing opinions on what constitutes the "best interests" of their children, which often leads to highly contested legal proceedings. This is where our experienced family law attorneys can assist. We strive to pursue solutions that prioritize your child's needs while not compromising your rights as a parent.

When children are involved in a divorce, custody must be established to protect their best interests. Many co-parents attempt to reach an agreement through mediation, which can greatly help reduce the contentiousness of a custody battle. If you cannot reach an agreement through mediation, a family law judge will hear the case.

Factors that will be considered include the following:

  • The health and safety of the child – Courts must consider factors that can impact a child's well-being, including a history of domestic violence, criminal behavior, and drug or alcohol abuse.
  • The child's wishes – For older children deemed mature enough to make such a decision, the court must take the child's preferences into account.
  • Willingness to co-parent – The court wants parents to cooperate and foster healthy relationships. A parent's likelihood to encourage visits and communication between the child and the other parent will be considered.
  • The stability of the child's status quo – California courts favor maintaining a child's established routine, lifestyle, and relationships; they do not support major disruptions. For instance, if one parent plans to move a significant distance from the current family home, this will greatly influence the judge's custody determination.
In every case, both legal and physical custody must be determined:
  • Legal custody concerns each parent's authority to make decisions about the child's care and upbringing, including education, religion, medical care, and more.
  • Physical custody addresses where the child will live, how many overnights each parent will have, and other issues. In some cases, the terms of the custody agreement can impact the final child support obligations.

Should your case be presented to a judge, it is crucial to understand the factors that can influence their decision. Ultimately, the judge's primary concern will be the child's best interests.

Get the Legal Support You Need

Our Southern California child custody lawyers are dedicated to helping families with children navigate the emotionally charged process of determining child custody. With ten Certified Family Law Specialists and a knowledgeable, diverse team of associate attorneys, you can rely on Divorce Authority for dependable advocacy.