Divorce can be an emotional time, and establishing custody can be the toughest part. The United States has about 12.9 million custodial parents, and every one of these parents wants what’s best for their children. In fact, all parents experiencing the divorce process strive to make sure that the division of parenting time reflects their children’s best interests. With so many different elements to take into account in any child custody case—from personal considerations to financial obligations—a family law attorney is crucial to making sure that you can move forward confidently.
At Eugene F. Cristiano, Attorney at Law, I’ve handled every type of child custody issue imaginable over the course of my career. Whether you're seeking a child custody modification or setting up your first agreement, you can count on me to fight for your child's best interests. If you live in Covina as well as throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in California, allow me to help.
When it comes to establishing a child custody arrangement, there are two main options.
You and the other parent can draw up your own terms and present them to the court for approval. Whenever possible, this is the quickest, least expensive, and most painless option. An experienced attorney can help you keep the conversation productive and on track.
The other option is if you and the other parent can’t come to an agreement. In this case, you’ll take the case to family court and the judge will use their best judgment in establishing a custody arrangement. The standard the courts go by is the best interests of the child. You still want an attorney presenting your case to give you the best chance of arriving at the arrangement you know is best for your family.
Custody is an umbrella term with a few specifics underneath it. There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody has to do with where your children live. Legal custody involves the decisions that affect their lives—such as educational and healthcare decisions—and who gets to make these decisions.
Within the categories of physical and legal custody, either or both can be joint or sole. Joint means it is split between each parent, while sole means one parent is the only holder of that type of custody. Visitation also plays a role in this. If one parent has sole physical custody, the other can have visitation rights with their child but will not have a space for them to live in their home.
There are a variety of factors the courts will consider in determining custody, including but not limited to:
The financial situation of each parent
The relationship of the child with each parent
Where each parent lives
Where the child has a community
The child’s preference, if they are old enough to voice this
A custody agreement that is ordered by the court is not necessarily permanent. There are certain major life events that give you the opportunity to request a change to your existing child custody agreement. If there has been a change in circumstance, you can request a modification of the agreement. Change in circumstance includes job loss, relocation, or one parent not adhering to the custody arrangement.
Trusting the future of your family to an attorney is not a decision to be made lightly. For those in Covina, California as well as throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, I have the experience to help you navigate this tricky time. Contact me today to set up an initial consultation.