Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody is often the most difficult area of family law because it involves trying to reach an outcome that is in the best interests of the children involved. Unlike other areas of the law, the two parties are both aiming for the same objective, the best interests of their children, it’s just that they usually have different opinions on what that is. Add to that, that in some cases, a parent may seek to prevent the other parent from seeing their children out of spite or in an effort to gain leverage in property division or support proceedings. The court provides a remedy to parents in Sonoma County, to resolve their child custody differences.

It’s the court’s job to take into account what the parents say, but to filter out emotional pleas to reach an objective decision about what is truly best for the child. The child’s best interests are given such a high priority under the law that in rare cases, courts have rejected child custody agreements jointly made by both parents because the court didn’t believe the child’s interests were being properly served. To help the court reach the best decision, it’s vital that a parent is able to rationally articulate to the court why their proposed arrangement is best for the child.

An attorney’s advice and presence in this area is highly valuable, to help prevent emotion from becoming a distraction from the issue at hand and to ensure that the parent presents their argument in a way that discusses the legal factors the judge will consider in their decision. An attorney also helps ensure that all issues are considered. Child custody proceedings don’t just decide where a child will live most of the time, but also the scheduling of visitation and how important decisions such as healthcare and education will be made for the child in the future.

Parental Rights Cases

In some cases, factors such as little to no contact for a long period of time and/or some sort of serious abuse, arise and may create the basis for a parent to ask the court to permanently sever the other parents custodial rights. A parent wishing to do so, must have very clear and convincing evidence to support the court taking such serious action. The assistance of an experienced attorney in this area, is highly valuable, can clarify what is and isn’t allowed by the court when considering a parental rights termination and as well can provide considerable insight on whether or not such an action is in the best interest of your children.

Because this is such a serious action, the other parent will almost certainly be opposed and extensive litigation is likely. It is also the end of custody litigation over your child, if your successful. Thus, if factors do exist to support a termination of parental rights action, an attorney should become involved as soon as possible to help the parent best prepare for the likely litigation.

If you need a lawyer to handle your child custody and visitation┬ácase in Santa Rosa, Windsor, or Petaluma in Sonoma County, contact Brian Lanz at The Family Law Office today – (707) 523-4419.