At Furubotten Law, APC we understand how important your children are to you. Whether you are part of a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, your child’s future can often depend on the outcome of these very important cases. In fact, your own future is often intertwined with the outcome of a child custody case.
California courts are required to determine what child custody arrangements are in the best interests of the children. Child custody cases are not decided based upon what a parent wants or needs. However, the courts do encourage the parents to try and agree on a parenting plan. If the parents do agree on a parenting plan, the child custody agreement must also be approved and signed by a judge. If the parents cannot agree on a child custody parenting plan, the judge can make an immediate decision but will usually refer the parents to a mediator. The parents can hire a private mediator but many choose to go through Family Court Services which will arrange mediation of the dispute between the parties.
After mediation the parties will either agree and go back to court for a child custody and visitation order from the judge or they will ask the judge to make a decision. The judge can ask for a recommendation from the mediator and can also appoint a court evaluator to recommend a parenting plan for custody and visitation. The judge will also consider admissible evidence from the parties and other witnesses in making a child custody decision.
Sometimes things change once a child custody plan has been reached or ordered. One parent may remarry, lose a job or get a new one, or have to move hundreds of miles away. Sometimes, the other parent doesn’t “play fair” with visitation, or does things that make you worry about the children’s well-being. Child custody laws allow you to change an existing child custody arrangement, with a good reason, but it requires a court order to change it. Once a judge has issued a custody and visitation order or approved a parenting plan, any changes to that plan must have the agreement of both parents, usually in writing. If the parents can’t agree on a change or modification to the plan, one of the parents must file a motion before the court to obtain the changes that they would like.
Child custody cases are extremely complex and can be very stressful for the parties involved and their children. While it is tempting to avoid the costs of an attorney by representing yourself, most parents obtain a more favorable child custody result through attorney assistance. Furubotten Law is committed to helping clients on all levels and at all stages of your child custody case. We offer full representation for child custody matters for those who are able to retain an attorney to handle all aspects of the case. We also offer our attorney assisted services for those who can only afford limited attorney involvement. We can consult with you, discuss the difficulties, challenges and strengths of your case, and even prepare paperwork at your direction.
We have solutions for almost every budget. When you just can’t afford full attorney representation,check out our Attorney Assisted Services page to find out about obtaining limited services for:
- Initial Child Custody & Visitation Agreements
- Orders to Show Cause
- Modifications for Custody and Visitation
- Attorney Consultations and Case Evaluations
Contact our offices today for a FREE initial consultation of your child custody case and find out which of our child custody services are right for you.