La Mesa Child Custody Lawyer
Over 25+ Years of Family Law in San Diego CA
Legal proceedings involving children can be emotionally and physically draining. As a La Mesa child custody attorney who has been working in this field since 1992, I understand the complexities and sensitive nature of family law cases, which is why I offer you legal assistance that is rigorous, yet empathetic to the needs of your family.
When navigating through the legal process, I take into consideration your unique needs and those of your family, ensuring that the relationship dynamics of your family are respected. Whatever your desired outcome may be, I am here to help you. Contact my office to schedule your consultation.
Do I really need a lawyer for child custody?
A court of law can give custody, however that does not suggest you need to work with an attorney to make a child custody agreement.
Whether you need an attorney for child custody depends mostly on whether you and your partner can agree. The judge will wish to look carefully at the care and finances your child requires from you.
How is Child Custody Determined in CA?
During child custody cases, judges consider several factors when making a decision, such as:
- The wishes of the child
- The age of the child
- Current and potential health, safety, and welfare of the child
- Any domestic violence charges on a parent's record
- Criminal history of both parents
- The amount of contact that each parent currently has with the child
- Any possible alcohol or drug use from parents
- Any mutual agreements that have been negotiated between parents
What Are the Different Types of Child Custody in CA?
When it comes to child custody cases, my aim is to act as your La Mesa family attorney to negotiate a mutual settlement between both parties out of court, thus saving all involved parties money and time. While this is my preferred method, it doesn't always pan out this way. In cases where both parties cannot come to an agreement, the matter will be given over to a judge to decide.
The main topics that are discussed during child custody cases are:
- Legal custody, which gives the parent the right to make decisions about the child's education, medical care, and religious preference.
- Physical custody, which refers to the child's place of residence.
- Sole custody, which gives one parent full custody. This can apply to legal custody, physical custody, or both.
- Joint custody, which requires both parents to share custody. This can apply to legal custody, physical custody or both.
- Visitation, wherein one parent is given primary custody of the child, and the courts can grant visitation rights to the other parent.
Is California a Mother or Father State?
The state of California doesn't hold any bias or give preference to a parent based on gender. Both the mother and father have equal right to legal and physical custody, so long as the father has been able to establish paternity. Establishing paternity can be done either by signing a Declaration of Paternity at the hospital when the baby is born, or by filing for a paternity test with the court.
How Much Does a Lawyer Usually Cost in Child Custody?
Each attorney is different. You don’t want to go with the least expensive. Most will charge an initial retainer and pull their hourly fees out of that retainer. You should be given a written contract that states exactly how the attorney does their billing, how much they charge and what they charge for. How much you wind up paying will depend on you and the other party. The more you can agree on, the less your case will cost you. If you cannot agree about everything and go to court often, it is going to be very expensive.
What is an Unfit Parent in San Diego CA?
During a divorce, the court may need to determine if a parent is "unfit" for custody of a child. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if the child's safety or well-being is at risk. Here are some of the factors that are taken into account:
1) How involved was the parent in the child's life before the divorce? Are they familiar with the daily routine of the child?
2) Does the parent understand the needs of the child and how to communicate with them effectively about those needs?
3) Does the child have any ill-feelings towards the parent? Is there any fear based out of previous traumatic experiences?
4) Are there age-limit barriers set in place for things inappropriate for young children?
5) Does the parent seeking custody have a history of mental illness that impairs them from carrying out the role of being a responsible parent? Is there a history of substance abuse?
Can I Move Out of San Diego With My Child?
Unless both parents agree, the relocating parent will need court approval to move away with the child, even if the move is within California. Moving away is considered relocating to a distance that will interfere with the current child custody arrangement, which is typically 50 miles or more.
For more information about my child custody services, please give The Law Offices of Andrea Schneider a call at (619) 304-8499.
A Collaborative Approach
I will strategize and develop a game plan that will help you achieve your goals, all while staying within your budget.
Protecting Your Interests
I have your best interest at heart and in mind. I will patiently listen to what you want, need and value.
Thoughtful & Caring
I truly care about my clients and am here to help them with any legal matter they are facing.
Family Comes First
As a mother of two, I understand it is important to do what's best for you and your family. You can trust I will do just that for you.
Direct Attorney Access
When you call my office, you get me! You will not be handed off. I live and breathe your case. I will be with you every step of the way.
I treat my clients like family, not case numbers. My clients get the personal attention that their case deserves.