Child custody is often one of the hardest parts of a divorce case. People may become extremely passionate about their children during divorce – even if they previously had little to do with their care. Because of this, it is vital to have an attorney that understands child custody law and has the experience to stand up and fight for your rights.
Even if you were never married or are not going through a divorce, it is important to have a child custody lawyer review your case. Especially if you are trying to strip the other parent of custody because of abuse, drug use, or crime, talk to an attorney as soon as you can. The Oxnard child custody lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth offer free consultations on child support and divorce cases. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, contact our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.
Types of Child Custody in California
There are two major types of child custody to consider when you are dealing with child custody disputes. First is “legal custody.” This is the right to be the child’s parent, and it gives you the legal authority to make decisions about your child, their upbringing, their care, what they do, and other issues. Primarily, this gives you the right to make decisions about their education, healthcare, and religion.
Second is “physical custody.” This is the right to have your child live with you in your house, and all of the additional rights and responsibilities that come with that. For instance, the parent who has the child living with them often gets more power to make day-to-day care decisions, such as what the child will eat for dinner, whether they can play with a friend, or how they will get to soccer practice. It also means that that parent will be the child’s primary role model and example while the child lives with them.
In most child custody cases, California law will award “joint” custody. This means that legal custody is shared among both parents, and that each parent gets some portion of the year that their children will live with them instead of the other parent. Still, in most cases, one parent has “primary” custody, in that the children primarily live with them, i.e. for more than half the year. In some cases, the courts may decide that one parent should not have physical custody, but instead allow them to see their child through “visitation,” where they may be permitted to take the kids for the day or visit with them under supervision provided by the custodial parent, another family member, or a court-appointed individual.
Getting Child Custody in Oxnard
Getting child custody from the outset typically does not require any additional work. If you are listed on the birth certificate, you are the child’s parent and have legal custody. However, there are cases where the initial issue of whether you are or are not the parent is a serious legal hurdle. If you have a good claim that you are the biological father of a child, and you want to get custody, talk to an attorney about how to file your claim and what kinds of testing are required to prove your paternity.
If you are going through a divorce, the court will usually order joint custody. This means that your attorneys and the judge will work out a parenting plan that dictates each parent’s rights to make decisions, a schedule of when each parent gets physical custody, and how to resolve disputes.
In some cases, the court may find that there is sufficient justification to strip a parent of their custody rights. This usually happens because the parent has abandoned their child, spent time in jail, is an alcoholic, is addicted to drugs, or is abusive. In all cases, the child’s well-being is the ultimate factor the court uses to make custody decisions, so there must be something truly dangerous for the court to strip custody.
If you were stripped of your custody rights, talk to an attorney about how to restore them. If time has gone by and you have changed, you may be entitled to have the court reconsider their previous decisions. Especially if you have separated yourself from dangerous lifestyles, sought treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, and improved your financial situation, you could be entitled to have your custody rights restored. Talk to an attorney today about filing a petition for child custody.
It is important to remember that a child can legally have only two parents. That means that if a parent remarries and their spouse wants to adopt the child, the other biological parent must lose custody rights. It may be a difficult process for a stepparent to get child custody if the biological parent still wants to keep custody rights.
Oxnard Child Custody Lawyer
If you have children that you share with another parent who lives outside your household, you have the right to petition the court for child custody decisions. Especially if the other parent is abusive or suffers substance abuse issues, you should talk to an attorney right away to discuss your options. These child custody and visitation issues are also especially difficult in blended families and may require legal counsel. The Oxnard child custody attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth offer free consultations on child custody cases. To schedule your free consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.