In California, the court will award sole or joint child custody to either one or both parents with the “best interests of the child” as the standard for any decision. Judges evaluating custody cases must consider the best interests of the children in reaching a conclusion about how parents will share time with the children. In determining a child’s best interests, California law focuses on the health, safety, and welfare of children, and the concept that children benefit from frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
California law also allows courts to consider the wishes of a child who is mature enough to make an intelligent choice regarding custody. Typically, for a child’s preference in custody to be heard, the parent who seeks custody files a formal request for order with the court. Under the Family Code, a child may be permitted to address the court, unless the judge rules that doing this would not be in the best interests of the child. If it happens that the court precludes the calling of any child as a witness, it will generally provide alternative means of obtaining input from the child and other information regarding the child’s preferences. The court may, for instance, request the services of a minor’s counsel, an evaluator, an investigator, or a mediator to provide recommendations regarding what would be in the best interests of the child.
California law requires parents who cannot come to an agreement on their own to attend mediation as a precondition to participating in a contested court hearing. During the court-ordered mediation process that comes with a litigated divorce proceeding, the spouses will meet with a mediator to try to resolve child custody and visitation issues. The mediator will facilitate an arrangement wherein the parents can develop their own parenting arrangements with respect to both legal and physical custody. If mediation fails and the divorcing parents do not on their own arrive at an agreed child custody and visitation plan, the court will make a temporary custody and visitation order that it deems would be in the child’s best interests. The temporary order will continue until the parents do reach an agreement, or until a judge makes a final decision at a trial.
In certain cases, the court may order a Child Custody Evaluation, also called a “730 Evaluation” to look into the mental health and parenting practices of one or both of the parents. Another option is for the court to appoint minor’s counsel which is a lawyer for the child. The child can tell the attorney or the custody evaluator about his/her own wishes and concerns.
Dear Emily Robinson, Thank you for your services and helping reach a settlement. I would definitely recommend you to anybody who needs a good attorney to handle a divorce case.Regards, GD
Dear Emily Robinson, I greatly appreciate your tireless effort in fixing this difficult situation. Thank you so much and God bless you!Regards, E
Thank you so much for all your support and help! You can't imagine how glad and calm you make me feel ...
Thank you for being our angel!Regards, G
Emily Robinson, I know I have said it in some form or another before, but THANK YOU for all that you have done to get me to this point. It sure took a village. You were the calm in the storm and always knew the way to get us thru the barrage of BS... I would not have wanted anyone else by my side throughout this. YOU are the one that made me feel I was not crazy at times. You are so sweet, supportive, realistic, clever, creative, wise, with amazing resilience, tenacity, and patience. Thank you for having my back always.Regards, BT
MY PRACTICE AREAS
What makes me qualified?Emily graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law and is a certified mediator. Prior to that, Emily attended UC Santa Barbara where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Communication.
– How Initial Divorce Consultation Works
The attorney is going to want to know the facts of your situation. What’s been going on in your life that’s led to the divorce. What kind of property do you have? What your finances are like? And what kind of custody of schedules you like to see for the children. And to just kind of feel out how you have been planning. What you’ve been thinking in terms of the divorce.
Now if you have no plan and you haven’t been thinking of anything yet and you’re just sort of in a daze trying to figure out what to do which is the case for a lot of people. That’s absolutely fine. Just let the attorney know that and they can ask you the right questions to elicit the necessary information.
– An Overview of the Divorce Process
The basic process is one party will file for divorce. They will get a case number and get the documents back from the court. And, they will have those documents served to the other party. The other party has 30 days to respond to the divorce documents. Once that party responded, then the parties will exchange financial, income, and asset information and try work out a settlement. If you were unable to decide a settlement then we will set a trial date. The court will decide how to divide your property, your custody issues, and your support issues.