Pasadena Child Custody And Visitation Attorney
Divorce in it itself is challenging, but it becomes more difficult when there are minor children involved. For this reason, it is important to have strong experienced help at your side. Patrick Baghdaserians is a Pasadena child custody lawyer and family law specialist who also works in the Los Angeles area. Patrick Baghdaserians has over a decade of experience and is someone you want on your side when dealing with custody and visitation of minor children.
Generally, the court has jurisdiction over the custody of “minor children of the marriage.” Minor children of the marriage are those children who are natural or adopted children of both of the parties within the divorce proceedings.
Under California law, child custody has two parts which include:
- Physical custody
- Legal custody
Either type of custody may be awarded to one parent or to both parents. When a type of custody is awarded to one parent is it referred to as sole custody and when a type of custody is awarded to both parents it is referred to as joint custody. A court has the discretion to make these decisions. For example, a court can assign joint custody with regard to legal custody but not with regard to physical custody.
A court specifies one parent as the child’s primary caretaker and one home as the child’s primary home for purposes of public assistance eligibility when the court orders joint physical custody or joint legal custody. Although the terms physical custody and legal custody are often used, it is important to describe what they actually mean. Sole physical custody means that the child will reside with, and under the supervision of, one parent. With regard to sole physical custody, the court may order visitation to the other parent. Joint physical custody means that each parent will have significant periods of time with the child based on the agreed schedule of the court and the parties. However, joint physical custody does not mean that the child’s time with each parent is exactly split in half. On the other hand, sole legal custody means that one parent will have the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child. Joint legal custody means that the parents will share the right and responsibilities.
Custody is always awarded based on the child’s best interest. According to public policy, frequent and continued contact with both parents after the dissolution of marriage is needed. This way, parents are encouraged to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing; unless of course, it is not in the best interest of the child. When the court is determining which parent should be awarded sole custody, the court takes into consideration which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent.
There are several ways a court determines what is in the best interest of the child. One way a court determines what is in the child’s best interest is by considering any history of abuse by one parent. A second way is by considering the nature and amount of the child’s contact with both parents. In addition, the court must consider the habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, the habitual or continual use of alcohol, or the habitual or continual abuse of prescribed controlled substances by either parent. The list regarding what is in the child’s best interest goes on.
Other factors that a court might account for when evaluating these matters include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) the following:
- Where you live: A joint physical custody arrangement may benefit a child if both of their parents have the capacity to play a positive role in their day-to-day life. However, for a joint physical custody arrangement to work, both parents should live reasonably close to one another.
- A child’s preference: Depending on your child’s age, their own opinion about who they want to live with may be accounted for when custody decisions are made.
- A child’s current lifestyle: A divorce can significantly interfere with a child’s current lifestyle. A court may therefore attempt to minimize any additional disruption that might occur if a child were to be removed from a living situation to which they’re already adjusted.
How a Pasadena Child Custody and Visitation Law Firm Helps
The specific manner in which a Pasadena child custody and visitation lawyer assists you will vary depending on certain factors. For instance, perhaps you and your soon-to-be ex want to work together to arrive at a child custody arrangement that’s mutually satisfactory.
This is often an ideal goal. In California, family law courts generally prefer that divorcing spouses handle these matters together instead of requiring the court to make critical decisions about their children’s future for them.
(That said, a court may reject the arrangement two parents arrive at if it’s clear that one parent doesn’t deserve to have custody or visitation rights due to a history of abuse, criminal behavior, etc. As always, the goal of the court is to ensure an arrangement is in the best interests of the children who will be affected by it.)
Additionally, when the court is required to make decisions about custody and visitation on behalf of two parents, neither parent has much significant opportunity to exercise control over the final nature of the arrangement. Letting the court make custody decisions, therefore, prevents you from making these decisions yourself.
These are good reasons to attempt to address child custody and visitation with your spouse before your divorce is finalized. Doing so is often easier with the assistance of a legal professional. A Pasadena child custody and visitation attorney can facilitate civil discussions and serve as a go-between, ensuring you and your spouse are able to put your children first instead of allowing negative emotions to influence the process.
However, there are instances when it’s impossible for two spouses to collaborate on a visitation or custody plan. Maybe your spouse is pursuing sole custody of the children and is entirely unwilling to consider any other possible arrangement.
The fact that your spouse thinks they’re the only parent who deserves custody doesn’t mean they are correct. For instance, maybe they’re upset that the marriage is ending, and are thus using your children as a means of punishing you.
Regardless, if the court must make decisions about your kids’ future, you need to demonstrate that you should be permitted to have some form of custody or visitation rights. A lawyer can help you present your case accordingly.
These are always complex matters. That is why it is important to have someone with experience on your side when dealing with marriage dissolution and custody and visitation. Patrick Baghdaserians is an experienced Pasadena child custody lawyer and family law specialist who has dealt with a magnitude of custody and visitation cases in his over a decade of experience. Regardless of the reason, divorce is challenging, do not make the process even more difficult on yourself and schedule a consultation with Patrick Baghdaserians.