Child Custody Lawyers in San Jose, CA — Fighting for the Best Interests of Our Clients and Their Children
The end of a relationship is stressful regardless of the relationship type. This is true regardless of whether you’re dating a partner, in a domestic partnership, or married. Unfortunately, things can become far more stressful and emotional when children’s lives are involved. In these situations, it’s typically impossible for former partners to simply go their separate ways. In most instances, a child custody case will be necessary. It’s best when parents can agree on important decisions, but this is not always possible. Regardless of your underlying circumstances, you may benefit from speaking with our child custody lawyers in San Jose, CA.
At Argyris Mah, LLP, our team of experienced family law attorneys has dealt with all types of custodial cases. Perhaps you simply need help finalizing a parenting agreement you’ve already reached with your former partner, or maybe you’re in a situation where you and your ex are fighting for sole custody. No matter the situation, our San Jose custody attorneys are ready to assist. We know these can be emotional situations — particularly in cases involving child abuse, domestic violence, or merely an inability of parents to get along. Fortunately, you don’t have to go down this road on your own. Schedule your free consultation with us today.
What Determines Child Custody Issues in California?
There has long been a prevailing belief that mothers have the upper hand in child custody cases. However, this is far from the case. Any California child custody attorney can tell you that the primary consideration in these cases is the child’s best interest. In some cases, this could mean a specific parent gets their child most of the time while the other has visitation rights. In other situations, a child’s best interest could be served by having one parent completely removed from their lives. Put simply, these determinations are based on the unique circumstances of each case.
Here are some of the common factors that judges consider to determine what’s in a child’s best interest:
- The child’s safety, welfare, and health
- Any history of abuse by one parent to the other parent or their child
- How much contact — and the nature of that contact — currently exists between parent and child
- Prior convictions or history of abusing alcohol, prescribed medications, or controlled substances
- Any other factors that might be relevant
These are important considerations in any San Jose child custody case. As the last point on this list shows, the courts acknowledge that it’s impossible to identify every factor that should be considered. Court orders for child custody arrangements can have a lasting impact, and modifications to these orders can be difficult. As such, California courts will look at all relevant circumstances in-depth before deciding on a child custody matter. Unfortunately, they may not fully understand the entire situation. This is why it’s crucial for you to have child custody lawyers in San Jose to advocate on your behalf.
What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?
As with most family law matters, child custody can be a complicated issue. This is true even when parents are amicable and able to create their own parenting plans. That’s because there are multiple types of custody. These include:
Legal custody refers to the ability of a parent to make important decisions for their child. These decisions can have long-term effects on their upbringing. This can be a shared custody arrangement, or a specific parent may be given full rights to make such determinations. Important decisions include:
- Where the child will attend school
- Extracurricular activities
- The child’s religious upbringing
- Medical decisions for the child
Physical custody dictates where a child spends most of their time. Even when parents agree to share important decisions, custody disputes frequently arise over whether the child will live in one parent’s house or the other. Even if a parent is not given physical custody of their child, they are often still eligible for visitation rights.
Joint vs Sole Custody
Child custody and visitation are complex matters. For instance, a court order for both legal and physical custody can be “joint” or “sole.” A joint custody order means that both parents share custody. A sole custody order means only one individual — the custodial parent — has certain rights. Sole physical custody means most of a child’s time is spent in one parent’s home. Sole legal custody means only one parent makes important life decisions for their child.
When Is Joint Legal Custody Not Granted?
California judges hope that child custody cases can be amicable. When parents can agree on a parenting plan, it makes the court’s job easier. This is particularly the case with legal custody — since it’s presumed that both parents should have an equal say in raising their child. However, there are situations where sole legal custody is granted to a specific parent. These decisions are made by a judge, but it’s important to remember that custody orders can be altered later. Until that time comes, though, these are the issues that could result in sole legal custody orders:
- Parents either can’t or won’t make decisions together
- The courts believe a particular parent is unfit
- A certain parent is incapable of making important decisions
- The child’s best interest is served by having only a single legal guardian
In these situations, a judge may decide that it’s best for only one parent to make important decisions. However, this doesn’t mean that a joint physical custody agreement cannot still be reached. Of course, there are situations where both legal and physical custody are granted to an individual parent. In such cases, this does not remove the other parent’s child support obligations. Clearly, these cases can be pretty complex. As such, you may be best served by seeking out a child custody lawyer in San Jose, CA for assistance.
And since Argyris Mah, LLP offers free consultations, you have nothing to lose by reaching out for additional information today.
Can Child Custody Attorneys Help When Parents Agree?
Perhaps you are able to get along with your former partner. Maybe you’ve created your own visitation schedule with the other parent, and you may have even agreed on child support payments. If you’re in this situation, that’s great. It will certainly make everyone’s lives easier. However, you can still benefit from seeking assistance from San Jose custody attorneys. They can help you file the appropriate legal documents to make everything official. Additionally, they can help you better understand the legal process and ensure that your agreement is within the confines of the law.
Of course, many parents want to avoid family courts altogether. If you’re one of these individuals, you may think using some version of the “honor system” with your former partner is sufficient. This may work fine for some people, but the fact is that there are potential severe issues that may arise. For instance, what if your former partner falls into substance abuse? What if they violate a visitation arrangement? Even worse, what if they interfere with your custody rights by taking your child out of the area and ending contact? In any of these situations, you may have minimal recourse without a court order in place.
The simple fact is that a child custody lawyer in San Jose can prove invaluable regardless of your individual circumstances. Schedule your free consultation with our law firm today.
Contact Our Child Custody Lawyers in San Jose, CA Today
In a perfect world, parents would be able to reach custody arrangements on their own. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Parents often cannot agree on everything, and even when they deeply care for their child, they may view what’s in their child’s best interest differently. And even in cases where former partners can agree on important issues, simple mistakes in the filing process can derail everything. However, working with someone who is skilled in the legal process can help you with these issues and many others. You deserve an experienced Santa Clara County family law attorney on your side.
At Argyris Mah, LLP, we’ve seen how difficult child custody cases can be. They are far too often dragged out longer than necessary — particularly when parents try to handle the issues on their own. In the end, this can have adverse effects on everyone involved — including children. Hiring a child custody lawyer in San Jose, CA will not guarantee that the process is without stress. However, having a legal professional on your side can make things simpler than they’d otherwise be. Contact us today by calling (408) 214-6366 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll advocate for the best interests of you and your child.