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Child Custody Attorneys

A divorce or breakup is painful on its own. When you share children with your ex-partner, a split is even harder. The fear of losing time with their children can make people act irrationally or make snap decisions, further complicating negotiations. Child custody is one of the most important parts of your divorce, and it’s important to work with an attorney who can help you advocate for you and your child.

Start preparing for what comes next with our team of Coachella Valley family law attorneys. Call Castillo & Associates at 800-497-9774 to set up a consultation now.

Types of Child Custody in California

California courts recognize both physical and legal custody. Physical custody relates to how much time the child spends with each parent, while legal custody refers to who makes important decisions regarding education, healthcare, and religion.

Depending on the circumstances facing the family, the courts may award joint or sole custody in both areas. Joint physical custody means that the child spends time with both parents, while sole custody places the child exclusively in one parent’s care. This option is often used if one parent has a history of abuse, has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, lives far away, does not want any parenting time, or travels a lot.

Joint legal custody allows the parents to share important decisions. This is the more common option, as the court prefers both parents to be actively involved in the child’s life and upbringing. However, if one parent cannot be trusted to make good decisions on behalf of the child, the other parent may have sole legal custody.

How the Court Looks At the Best Interests of the Child

In every decision it makes, the court looks at the best interests of the child. There are numerous factors that go into this, including:

  • The child’s current routine and how a change in routine may affect them
  • Which parent is able to meet the child’s physical, emotional, mental, and educational needs
  • The strength of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • How much contact and face-to-face time the child currently has with both parents
  • Any history of abuse, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse
  • Each parent’s schedule and other obligations that may interfere with parenting 

In general, the court begins with the presumption that the child is best served with substantial, meaningful time with both parents. Their expectations may be adjusted as evidence is presented.

Establishing a Child Custody Agreement

While it is possible to allow the court to decide on your child custody agreement, most parents negotiate a schedule with the help of their attorneys. Our experience working with parents in Palm Springs, Indio, and other nearby communities makes us the natural choice for your custody negotiations. We’ll consider a range of factors while negotiating for you. Who has been the child’s primary caretaker in the past? How can we create a schedule that accommodates both parents’ obligations while helping the child maintain a strong relationship with both parents? What is the ideal outcome for you, and where are you willing to compromise? You will be involved every step of the way.

Complicating Factors and Issues

Standard custody agreements between parents living in the same city are often fairly straightforward. Other arrangements and needs can complicate this process:

  • One parent lives in another city or state
  • One parent travels often for work or has an irregular work schedule
  • History of domestic abuse against one parent, necessitating different drop-off/pickup arrangements
  • Exceptional medical or educational needs of a child 

This is just a sampling of the issues we have navigated over our years in practice. We’re committed to using our experience to make your custody negotiations as smooth and swift as possible.

Negotiating a Child Custody Modification

 It’s important to ensure that your initial child custody order meets your current needs. Should any disputes arise, the courts will look at that order when determining its course of action. However, circumstances change. When one parent has a major change in work schedule, moves away, or otherwise needs their parenting time changed, a modification in the current order may be necessary. Our team is here to help parents in Palm Desert, La Quinta, and nearby Coachella Valley communities secure a fair and reasonable custody schedule

Reach Out to Castillo & Associates to Discuss Your Family Law Needs

We know that custody disputes can dominate your thoughts until they are handled, and we’re focused on finding fast, reasonable solutions for your needs. To meet with our team in Indian Wells or other Coachella Valley cities, call us at 800-497-9774 or send us a message online.

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