Upset child with arguing parents in background

How Is Child Custody and Visitation Determined in California?

Divorce proceedings and other family disputes are difficult affairs, and emotions can get the best of anyone, especially when it comes to child custody and visitation arrangements. Although it can be tempting to jump headfirst into fighting for your custody and visitation rights, these are delicate legal affairs that require a deliberate and careful approach. This is why we recommend that any parent who is facing child custody and visitation issues in California consult with a skilled legal professional before anything else.

In the meantime however, we’ve drafted a brief rundown on what you and your loved ones can expect when navigating the family courts in California. For more in-depth assistance, and to speak to a qualified family law attorney, do not hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Fenchel Family Law.

How the Family Court Process Works

Child custody and visitation orders are determined by a variety of factors, including specific family circumstances such as living arrangements, the income of each parent, and sometimes even the child’s expressed preference. Ultimately, family courts weigh these (and other) factors in order to make a decision that is in the “best interests” of the child.

This process begins via a mediation session at Family Court Services, which is a requirement that must be fulfilled before any court custody and visitation orders can be issued. Here, parents meet with a mediator who attempts to guide the two parties towards a mutually-agreeable arrangement. Mediators also create a report which includes details of how the mediation session proceeded. In cases where it was not possible for both parties to resolve their dispute, the report also includes a formal recommendation which the courts utilize to help determine the finalized arrangements.

The process doesn’t always end here. Unresolved disputes between parties can lead to additional, court-ordered evaluations. When trying to determine “best interests,” courts look for things such as stability and continuity, amongst other factors, although they also emphasize frequent contact and interaction with both parents.

Contact A Family Law Attorney Today

Every family is unique, which means that each child custody and visitation arrangement is determined by different factors. While this post helps provide a basic summary of how family courts deal with child custody and visitation matters in CA, we implore you to speak with a qualified professional for more specific guidance.

To learn more about how the seasoned family law attorneys at Fenchel Family Law can help, be sure to give us a call to schedule a free initial consultation.