Child Custody And Visitation After Divorce In California

While some parties are agreeable on what is best for the children after a divorce, this is not always the case. Sometimes the best interests of the children is overshadowed by other issues related to the divorce. While California law seeks to protect children who are caught in the middle of a divorce, it is in the best interest of you and your children to consult with a knowledgeable attorney about your case.

At Ratzer Family Law in Solana Beach, protecting your children's rights and well-being is our top priority. We are a well-established law firm with many years of experience in family law matters. We work hard to get you results quickly through mediation. We are also strong litigators who will fight aggressively for your rights in court if it comes to that. Our goal is to get you and your family the best outcome possible for your divorce.

Child Custody Procedures In California

The primary concept that child custody determination centers around in California is a parenting plan. A parenting agreement is usually negotiated between parents and their attorneys outside of the courts. While each plan is unique to the family involved, it generally includes:

  • Who has physical custody of the child
  • What the visitation schedule will look like (including holidays, birthdays and vacations)
  • Who has legal custody and makes decisions impacting the child's welfare and upbringing
  • How contact with other family members and third parties will be handled
  • What to do in the event of a dispute or change to an agreement

While it's possible for these issues to be mutually agreed on, determining child custody and visitation can also be complicated — especially if the two parents cannot reach an agreement. To win battles such as these, you need an experienced child custody lawyer on your side.

Court Ordered Mediation

Before you will be heard by a Judge on child centered issues you are required to participate in a mediation process. The purpose of mediation in San Diego County is to put your family in front of a mediator who will gather background information on your family that will assist your Judge if your Judge is required to make orders in your case. In San Diego County you CANNOT go to this mediation unprepared. Why? Because if you do not reach agreements in your mediation the mediator is tasked with producing a report to your Judge that includes the Mediator's recommendations on how the Judge should decide your disagreements. Judges rely on these reports and recommendations and for that reason you CANNOT participate in this process unprepared.

Federal Child Custody Issues

Child custody cases in California are often complex, but sometimes these cases cross state lines. When this happens, the custody agreements must also consider federal law. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is set up to encourage legal cooperation between states. California state law is compliant with these federal laws.

Protecting your children in California or across state lines during and after your divorce is crucial. An experienced lawyer from Ratzer Family Law can help. Contact us online, or call us directly at 858-925-8099 to schedule a meeting with one of our dedicated attorneys. Located in Solana Beach, we are proud to serve clients throughout the San Diego County area.