Orange County Child Custody Attorney
Helping You Protect Your Child
As a parent, you want the best for your child - which is what can make child custody battles so frustrating. If you're dealing with a combative co-parent or just want to ensure your child receives the best treatment in their case, you need an attorney you can trust by your side throughout the process.
At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our Orange County child custody lawyers are committed to helping parents find the best path forward in custody cases for themselves and their children.
Understanding Custody in California
In California, there are two types of custody:
- Physical custody, which governs a parent's rights to house their child; and
- Legal custody, which governs a parent's right to make decisions concerning their child such as where they go to school, what extracurricular activities they engage in, the kind of medical and dental care they receive, etc.
Parents can share physical and/or legal custody using either a joint or sole custody arrangement.
- In a joint custody arrangement, both parents have physical and/or legal custody of their child, though not necessarily in equal amounts. Courts tend to prefer joint custody arrangements under the assumption that it's beneficial for a child to spend time with both parents.
- In a sole custody arrangement, only one parent has physical and/or legal custody of their child. In situations where one parent is unfit to act as a parent (often due to behavior such as substance abuse or family violence), the other parent may receive sole custody rights.
If parents agree on how to handle custody, they can present a joint parenting plan and custody agreement to the court, which a judge can then sign to resolve the custody dispute. Otherwise, the parties will need to litigate their divorce in court through a court hearing, and the judge will determine an equitable custody arrangement after hearing from both parents.
Custody arrangements also include a visitation plan detailing how parents intend to split time with their child. Most parents use one of the following visitation arrangements:
- Scheduled visitation. In a scheduled visitation arrangement, the parties have a set schedule for when they switch off custody.
- Reasonable visitation. In a reasonable visitation arrangement, the parties can switch off custody at any time as long as it's under reasonable conditions.
- Supervised visitation. If a parent could represent a danger to the child, their visitation time may be supervised by a third party.
- No visitation. In some circumstances, a parent may be deemed emotionally or physically harmful and have their visitation rights revoked.
The Custody Mediation Process in California
Numerous questions must be answered, and a Child Custody Recommending Counselor (a mediator, essentially) will help you work through them all in the most efficient and beneficial way. This mediator will then help you build a plan that is uniquely qualified to serve your particular family needs. The mediation process is designed with three distinct goals in mind:
- To create a customized parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children involved;
- To create a parenting plan that allows children to spend time with both parents;
- To help parents deal with and overcome any feelings of anger or resentment.
Mediation is the time to resolve the issue seamlessly, and so you may need assistance on what not to say in child custody mediation. In some cases, custody mediation can be interfered with by extenuating circumstances that may not allow both parents to meet and create their plan face to face. When this is the case, alternative dispute resolution options exist. Whatever your situation may be, it is essential to have a strong legal advocate on your side whenever going into any child custody proceedings.
What Not to Say in Child Custody Mediation
When engaging in a child custody mediation session, there are several suggestions to consider to avoid saying anything offensive to the other party:
- Refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent;
- Only use what you believe are to be facts, spreading rumors will not help your case;
- Never say anything that would put the child's best interests at risk;
- Always check with your attorney if you are unsure about what verbiage may hurt you.
Experienced Child Custody Mediators in CA
If you have any questions about child custody mediation in California, we can help. Lani Baron, Attorney-Mediator at Alternative Divorce Solutions, is an Orange County child custody mediation lawyer who can assist you through all aspects of your divorce. Attorney Baron was recently named one of OC Metro Magazine's Top 100 Attorneys for Orange County and continues to assist clients entering one of the most difficult phases of their lives.
At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our Orange County child custody attorneys help clients find the best path forward in custody disputes. We'll work with you to pursue an outcome that enables your child to thrive.
“Thank you for all your knowledge, conscientiousness, and kindness.”- Beverly
“First and foremost, I found that I had a lot to learn about the divorce mediation process. I did not exactly know what the role of the mediator was or if we would still have to go to Court.”- Donald B.
“I was so stressed out before I went to ADS. Once I got there Lani sat with me and my husband and explained the whole mediation process. After I left I knew exactly what to expect and ADS lived up to my expectations.”- Giz S.