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Orange County Child Custody Attorney

Divorce Mediation Services for Custody in CA

The custody of your child is one of the issues which is frequently contested in family court. Once you and your spouse decide to divorce, you may be concerned about how your relationship with your children will be affected. Many couples both wish to have primary custody or feel that the other spouse should not have the same amount of visitation time as they do.

If you are currently dealing with custody issues during a divorce, it is wise that you speak with an Orange County child custody mediation attorney. Contact Alternative Divorce Solutions online or call us at (949) 558-2624 to learn how our team can help your family.

Focused on Your Child's Best Interest

At our firm, our child custody lawyers understand the emotional struggle and stress that can accompany a divorce, especially when it comes to child custody matters. We strive to protect your child's best interest as well as your own parental rights throughout the divorce process. You may want to consider avoiding litigation and instead work out your disagreements through mediation, as it is often less costly, more private, and may be less stressful.

We can provide you with information on the following child custody matters:

How Is Child Custody Determined in CA?

When the court is making a decision about child custody and putting together a parenting and visitation schedule, they strive to keep your child's best interest in mind. However, they may not always have the same details and information about your family and the reasons you should have custody of your children.

A few factors which may be considered in the decision include:

  • Children's' preference (if old enough)
  • Parents' relationship with the children
  • Past criminal/addiction history
  • Financial assets/earning capacity

Types of Child Custody

Physical Custody

Physical custody is perhaps the most commonly known arrangement. Parents who are granted physical custody are given the right to have the child live with him or her. There are some cases that call for joint physical custody, which involves the child living with both parents for a significant amount of time. Joint physical custody, however, will only be given to parents who are living relatively close to each other. If a court sees that parents live too far from one another, they will award just one parent with sole physical custody.

Legal Custody

Parents who are awarded legal custody have the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and general upbringing. The school the child attends, the religion he or she practices, and the medical attention or care he or she receives is up to that parent’s discretion. It is not uncommon for courts to issue joint legal custody, which means that parents must come to an agreement on how they choose to raise their child.

Sole Custody

A judge can award sole custody to one parent, especially in cases where it can be proven that one parent is unfit to raise a child, usually due to financial, drug, or alcohol issues. Sole custody can be granted even if both parents are fit for raising the child, but one parent has a new partner who poses a danger or threat to the child’s wellbeing – in these instances, the court will likely give sole custody to the other parent.

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

Creating a Parenting Plan

A requirement in the state of California, a parenting plan is created to address how you and your ex-spouse would like to handle parenting the children (co-parenting). This can be as detailed or as broad as you both like. With litigation, however, you might have to follow a document similar to the Parenting Plan suggested by the Orange County Family Court.

When you put a parenting plan in place, you may want to decide when to revisit the plan to ensure that it is working well for your family. The amount of detail depends on the type of relationship that you have as co-parents. By having a plan in place, you are keeping the courts out of the decision making process, reducing costs and maintaining more of a say as to what is best for your children.

What to consider when developing your parenting plan:

  • Decision-making. These may be day-to-day decisions (what your child will eat or wear that day) to major decisions (what school the child will attend, medical procedures, etc). Think about who is going to make these decisions and how the decision will be communicated to the other parent.
  • Visitation & residential schedules. Factor in a summer schedule, school schedule, holidays and important events. Where will the child live? A child could live full time with one parent and have scheduled times to visit with the other parent. It is up to the parents to decide what is best for the child.
  • Transportation. There needs to be an agreement of who picks up and drops off, unless you are comfortable working through those details on your own.
  • Money. Discuss other financial responsibilities such as paying for activities, medical bills or education.
  • Medical & dental care. Make sure that these needs are met for your children and discuss how you will make decisions concerning these issues.
  • Spiritual development. Some parents want to agree upon how they will raise their children with respect to their faith. Parents may choose to continue to go to the same church, temple or mosque or agree to at least be supportive of the other parent’s desire to expose their children to a particular faith.
  • Disagreements. Have a plan in place to address how you will work things out if you disagree with the parenting plan. Mediation is always an option.

Your plan always should focus on the child’s best interests. Having a plan in place improves communication between both parents and provides a more positive experience for your child. It can also reduce the emotional stress when everyone is on the same page and in agreement. Parenting plans can be adjusted in the future to meet your child’s needs. There is no need to go to court to make those changes because mediation can easily help with the process.

Please schedule a free one hour case consultation with a child custody attorney today by calling us at (949) 558-2624.

The Benefits of Mediation

Top 3 Reason to Choose Mediation Over Litigation
  • Sensible

    We help you resolve all of the issues a judge would decide, such as asset and debt division, property division, or child custody and support in a peaceful and respectful way.

  • Responsible

    We focus on non-intrusive solutions and minimize court involvement. This keeps the entire divorce process more confidential and less stressful for everyone involved.

  • Affordable

    During an emotional time in your life, you shouldn’t have to worry about your pocketbook. Our one-time flat fee includes all costs associated with the mediation process.

Client Testimonials

  • Thank you for all your knowledge, conscientiousness, and kindness.

    “It does not happen often, but there are those few times over the years that I have had the honor to work with a professional who I knew as soon as they began speaking—this is an outstanding ...”

    - Beverly
  • My Husband and I Came Through this Process Whole and At Peace

    “Our family is so fortunate to have the team at Alternative Divorce Solutions by our side navigating us through this process. Lani Baron is outstanding; every interaction I had with she and her staff exceeded my expectations.”

    - Kelley B.
  • Lani's Knowledge of the Law was Instrumental in Prevailing in a Situation that Appeared to be a Lost Cause from the Onset.

    “I really appreciate Lani’s help and recommend her and her firm to anyone; she’s top notch and will get you resolves.”

    - Esther R.
  • It Is Possible to Remove Stress from a Divorce

    “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 don’t know if I would have made it through my divorce without Lani and the team at Alternative Divorce Solutions.

    “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.