A child custody case in Fontana, CA is one of the most difficult things you will likely go through. Not understanding the laws surrounding child custody can make it even harder. When you look back on this time, you will either regret not hiring an attorney or will be glad you did.
All American Law is a family law firm with over 30 years of combined experience. Our background allows us to serve our clients with quality legal counsel, mitigation, and litigation when absolutely necessary. We are skilled in negotiating and mediating families through tough cases, and our goal is to protect our clients’ rights and interests, as well as the interests of their children and the family as a whole. Our clients are happy with our services and the fair and compassionate approach we take in every case we represent.
Child custody is the right and responsibility of parents for the care and well-being of their children. California defines child custody as either physical or legal. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions regarding their children, and physical custody is granted to whomever the children live with as their primary residence. Both types of custody can be joint, which means shared, or sole, which means awarded to one parent only.
When joint legal custody is awarded, this means both parents share in the decision-making when it comes to important decisions regarding the children. Sole legal custody gives only one parent the right and responsibility to make important decisions when it comes to the children.
Legal custody allows the right of a parent to make important decisions, but many parents wonder what that means. Some examples of important decisions that a parent with sole or joint legal custody would have the right and responsibility to make are listed below.
A large part of child custody is parenting time, also called visitation. This refers to time spent with the non-custodial parent or split parenting time when parents share joint custody. The four types of parenting time orders recognized by California family court are reasonable, scheduled, supervised, or none. The different types of custody are defined below.
Reasonable – Open parent time allows parents to determine the times when they are with their children. This is mostly ordered when parents exhibit a good co-parenting relationship in which they don’t argue about time with children and show they can communicate, and are willing to be flexible to accommodate their children’s interests.
Scheduled – Having a parenting time schedule is a good way to split time between parents. This involves making a schedule of dates that designate when children will spend time with each parent. This schedule may include holidays, vacation breaks, and special occasions like birthdays or other important days. Having a pre-set schedule can prevent arguments and confusion throughout the year regarding when children will be with each parent.
Supervised – If there is a concern about the safety of a child when left alone with one parent or there is a concern about the ability of one parent to adequately care for a child alone, supervised visitation is an option. When a child needs to be reacquainted with a parent, slow re-acclimation for both the parent and child via supervised visitation often works well. These visits can be supervised by a professional agency, which typically charges a fee per hour but provides a safe and welcoming environment with a neutral place to come together. Supervision can also be the other parent or another trusted adult.
None – If parental time is too risky for the safety of the child, sometimes no visitation is ideal.
A: The cost of a child custody lawyer is dependent on the lawyer’s fees, the complexity of the case, the time the case takes, and other factors. A custody lawyer may charge a retainer and then deduct the hourly rate as they spend time on the case. The average hourly rate is $500 per hour, and custody cases may cost anywhere between $3,000 and $20,000 in attorney fees.
A: A child custody case in California does not require parents to have a private attorney represent them. However, depending on the situation, a child custody lawyer can significantly optimize a parent’s cause in their case. If the other parent is specifically fighting for sole custody, it is recommended that anyone in this situation enlist the help of professional legal counsel.
A: To file for custody with the Superior Court of California, it costs a fee of $435. If the filing parent cannot afford the cost, a fee waiver is offered for eligible parties. Filing for custody also involves filing for support of minor children as well, which is included in this fee.
A: California family court does favor families with 50/50 joint custody arrangements; however, if it’s not in the interest of the child, they will not approve 50/50 joint custody but rather rule in favor of an ideal custody arrangement that accounts for the most favorable interest of the child.
If you are planning to seek joint or sole custody of your child, or if your child’s other parent has filed for a custody order, you shouldn’t go into it without a reliable and experienced Fontana child custody lawyer to protect your rights and encourage the courts to act in the interest of your child and your family. Call All American Law and speak with one of our attorneys about your case and learn more about how we can help with your child custody needs.