Experienced Sacramento Attorney Litigates Child Custody Disputes
California law firm provides strong advocacy to maintain family relationships
California law resolves questions of child custody by focusing on what it determines to be the best interests of the child and by emphasizing the importance of children maintaining relationships with both parents. Of course, the question of what is best for your son or daughter can be hotly disputed. At Williams Family Law, we strive to resolve issues in a cooperative spirit, but never more so than in matters of child custody and visitation. In most instances, each parent should recognize the importance of the other parent in their child’s life. We try to work from that foundation, but when one parent poses a potential safety risk or an agreement cannot be reached, we will argue forcefully on your behalf.
Advising clients on the factors that determine sole and joint custody
Custody is both legal and physical and can be shared by parents or awarded to only one, although most courts now prefer to keep both parents as fully involved in their children’s lives as possible. Parents with legal custody have the right to make decisions regarding their children’s schooling, religious upbringing and medical care, while physical custody determines where the children live. All custody decisions are based on the “best interests” test, which takes into account a variety of considerations, including:
- Health and safety — The child’s well-being is always the paramount consideration, so any alleged abusive behavior or substance problems will be scrutinized. The court may even determine whether the neighborhood where one parent lives is safer than the other’s.
- Continuity — A child’s world changes when his parents split up, so courts sometimes seek to reduce the upheaval in children’s lives by keeping them in the same home and school, when possible.
- Child preference — California requires that the wishes of mature children be taken into consideration in custody hearings, though their wishes will not necessarily be followed.
Williams Family Law will help you understand how these and other factors affect your custody case if it goes before a judge.
Helping parents establish fair visitation and child support terms
Consistent with California’s goal of children maintaining strong relationships with each parent, courts enter detailed orders concerning parenting time, or visitation, with the noncustodial father or mother. We will help create a clear, legally enforceable document that extensively details issues about parental responsibilities and details such as transportation and holidays.
Whether you are the parent paying child support or receiving it, you need to know that strict laws exist for the establishment and enforcement of child support in California. We can help ensure that the correct information is used and appropriate rates are set, even if that requires modification of a prior order.