Sacramento Child Custody Attorneys
For many parents, working through child custody is one of the hardest parts of divorce. You could lose all or part of your rights as a parent, and the court’s decision could change your relationship with a child forever. Historically, mothers win custody battles more often than fathers. Today, the justice system tries to create the best circumstances for a child, regardless of stereotypical roles. For help navigating through a child custody dispute, contact a child custody lawyer in the greater Sacramento area for help.
During child custody battles, the judge may assign full custody to one parent or divide custody between two parents. Many factors influence custody decisions, so seek legal counsel. A qualified Sacramento child custody attorney can fairly and fully present your side of the story. The team at Boyd Law is committed to protecting parents’ rights and the child’s best interests in custody-related and other family law proceedings.
Why Choose Our Attorneys?
- Our attorneys have earned the trust of their colleagues and clients through years of high-quality family law representation.
- Our lawyers build strong relationships with their clients to craft the best possible strategies for their divorce cases.
- Our lawyers have all the resources and knowledge of California divorce laws you need for answers to your questions and peace of mind.
- Our law firm can help you work through any challenges you may face during a divorce, including child custody, child support and spousal support.
Can You Create Your Own Custody Arrangement?
Going to court to determine child custody is not your only option. In every state, the courts first allow parents to come up with their own custody arrangements before ordering a judge to intervene. If you and your co-parent can work together on creating a parenting plan – including arrangements for physical custody, visitation and legal rights – a judge will most likely sign off on the plan. Otherwise, you will have to proceed to court and allow a judge to make final custody decisions for you.
If you think working with your spouse on child custody is a possibility, do so with help from an unbiased third party. Contact an attorney in Sacramento for advice on how to create a parenting plan a judge will accept. Keep in mind you will need to work out your custody arrangement in fine detail, including every holiday, summer break and special occasion. A judge will only agree to your parenting plan if he or she believes it fulfills the best interests of the child.
Determining Child Custody Arrangements
All aspects of a divorce are determined on a case by case basis in California. No two families are alike, and the custody arrangements that make sense in one situation may not work for another. Factors commonly evaluated include:
- Which parent has held the primary caregiving role
- The financial stability of a parent
- Environmental factors
- History of substance or physical abuse
- History of domestic violence or abuse
- Work schedules and requirements
- A child’s preference
- The emotional relationship of a child with a parent
- The extended family support structure
Child support and custody orders may change a parent’s relationship with a child, but they may also impact a grandparent’s relationship. In some cases, a grandparent may need to seek child visitation rights from the court to legally spend time with a grandchild. This may apply in cases where the custodial parent does not approve of visitation but a grandparent wants a relationship with the child.
Mediation and Child Custody
Two parents who can agree upon a custody arrangement can simplify the matter if the courts agree with their decision. However, many are hesitant to relinquish their parental rights, and the court must intervene for the benefit of the child or children. The state may recommend or order mediation for parents who cannot agree on custody considerations. This is more cost effective than taking the matter to court, and it gives both parties an opportunity to work through their problems and find an agreeable arrangement.
Custody mediation does not involve a judge determining child custody for you. You and your spouse will still hold the power in making the final custody decisions. A third-party mediator will be present, however, to help you and your spouse work through the matter. A mediator can help you see things more clearly, pointing out factors you may not have considered. A mediator can also help you both work through anger and resentment to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child. At the end of mediation, you and your spouse can either agree to the parenting plan created or take the matter to arbitration or court.
Changing Child Custody Orders
If circumstances fluctuate at a future date, a parent or the court may modify the support and or child support or custody order. The state may change the order if a mother or father develops a substance abuse problem, moves, or wants to relinquish custody. Anytime a parent plans to move out of state with the child, he or she must obtain court approval. Failing to do so could result in criminal charges.
As time passes, the factors determining child custody change. Until a child is a legal adult, divorced parents should prepare for the possible adjustments. For instance, if one parent wants to change a child’s surname, he or she must demonstrate to the court that the modification would benefit the child more than keeping the existing surname.
What Are My Spousal Support Options?
Whether or not you are receiving child support, you may qualify for spousal support during your divorce case. Spousal or partner support is an amount of money the courts may order one spouse to pay the other after divorce. California is a no-fault state, so fault will not come into play. Instead, the courts look at monetary issues to decide who should receive spousal support.
- Both spouses’ income levels
- Length of the marriage/domestic partnership
- Whether one spouse gave up a career for domestic duties
- The marketable skills of the spouse
- The time it will take for the spouse to acquire job training/experience
In general, if Spouse A makes significantly more than Spouse B, Spouse A will pay alimony to help Spouse B maintain his or her standards of living after the divorce. Alimony is usually not permanent, although it may be a long-term award if the couple was married for 10 years or more. A judge will award alimony for an amount of time he or she deems is reasonable for the recipient to become financially independent. Most spousal support agreements will end, however, if the recipient remarries.
Under California law, a reasonable amount of time for alimony to last is half the length of the marriage or domestic partnership. If you were married for six years, for instance, you may owe or receive alimony for three years. Ultimately, a judge has the power to decide who will pay alimony, how much and for how long. Stating your claim to alimony clearly during a divorce lawsuit could improve your odds of receiving a fair amount from your ex-spouse. A lawyer in Sacramento can help you with your claim to support.
Child Custody Attorneys in Sacramento
At our law offices, our Sacramento child custody lawyers understand how custody issues affect parents and kids. The Boyd Law family Sacramento divorce attorneys’ top priority is helping families find the best solutions possible during a divorce. We always put a child’s best interests first while thinking strategically about the future while offering legal advice to help guide you through this difficult event. The Sacramento family law attorneys at Boyd Law have access to a team of professionals including family relationship experts and mental health professionals who specialize in helping children and their parents work through the life-changing issues of child custody.
For child custody and related divorce issues, the law firm of Boyd Law is ready to help you through every challenging aspect of a divorce in Sacramento County, California. Contact our Sacramento office today for a free consultation. Our experienced Sacramento divorce and family law attorneys have your best interests in mind and are here to help you through this process.