How Is Child Custody and Parenting Time Determined in California

For most parents, few ideas are scarier than the thought of losing their children (or even losing significant time with them). This is the fear that many parents bring into a child custody case. Thankfully, this fear is usually unfounded.

California law requires courts to make custody decisions in the best interests of children. In many cases, that means keeping both parents involved in the children's lives whenever possible. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, it is assumed that children are best served by having frequent contact with both parents on a continual basis.

Negotiated Agreements Vs. Contested Custody

There are two ways to assign custody and parenting time. The first (and arguably easiest) way is through negotiation. You and your co-parent work together to draft a detailed parenting plan (with the help and input of your attorneys). As long as the agreement is fair and reasonable, judges will generally sign off on it. This option gives both parents the most control over the outcome of the case, but it does require cooperation.

The other approach is contested custody. If you and your co-parent cannot agree on a plan, even after mediation, custody will be assigned by the court based on evaluations ordered by the court. This method affords the least amount of control, and is often more expensive and time-consuming. However, if your co-parent is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, you may be left with no other choice.

A Firm Offering Both Legal Skill And Compassion

If you are worried about child custody or any other family law issue, the Law Office of Linda D. States is here to help guide you through this difficult time. I understand and appreciate custody matters both as a lawyer and as a single parent.

As it is with most clients, my first job is to assure you that your fears are probably worse than the reality of your situation. That being said, I will do all I can to reduce your stress and anxiety as we work to achieve the best outcome for you and your children.

If a negotiated agreement is possible and is in your children's best interests, I will help you pursue it for all of the reasons mentioned above. If your spouse or co-parent proves unwilling to negotiate, however, I am prepared to aggressively advocate for you and your children in the courtroom.

Don't Wait To Get Started — Call Today

The Law Office of Linda D. States is located in Sacramento and proudly serves clients throughout the area. To discuss your case with an experienced child custody and visitation lawyer, call me at 916-426-9119. You can also request an appointment through my online contact form.