San Francisco Child Custody Attorney
Law Firm Committed to Helping You Get the Results You Need
While divorce has the potential to be emotionally devastating, the need to establish a parenting plan can cause even more heartbreak among parents and other involved parties.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is not uncommon for child custody to be the last thing that stands between feuding spouses and a finalized divorce.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Child Custody?
You should hire a child custody lawyer for certain concerns in your custody cases. A lawyer handling child custody provides legal counsel for circumstances that are challenging or involve any form of abuse.
It would be best to lawyer up for better outcomes in your custody and visitation arrangements.
As seasoned family law lawyers in San Francisco, the legal professionals at Fenchel Family Law understand this, which is why we always strive to formulate a parenting plan that is appropriate for your needs, as well as those of your children.
Handling All Family Law Matters
Our seasoned attorneys provide compassionate, dedicated representation, and we commit ourselves to your best interests above all else.
At Fenchel Family Law, our attorneys are equipped to handle matters such as, but not limited to:
- Custody arrangements (legal and physical custody)
- Modifications of child custody and visitation
- Custody evaluations
How Is Child Custody Determined in San Francisco?
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, the county court weighs 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.
A skilled attorney can help ensure that the court is scrutinizing your current and proposed parenting plans with a fair, unbiased lens, as well as navigate you through every step of mediation as you and your ex-spouse work together to hash out a plan that works for everyone.
Is California a Mother or Father State?
When it comes to deciding child custody, California is neither a mother nor a father state. Judges are required to follow an order of custody options, with the first preferred option being joint custody.
However, if the family’s situation calls for primary custody being awarded to one parent, the judge will make this decision based on which parent can better provide for the child’s best interests.
How Far Can a Parent Move With Joint Custody?
Unless both parents agree to the move and modify their custody agreement accordingly, a relocating parent must receive approval from the court to move with the children if the new location is 50 miles away or farther.
What Places You At Risk of Losing Child Custody?
A few major reasons that could lead to loss of child custody in California include:
- Child Neglect
A primary reason that causes parents to lose custody of their children is, not surprisingly, neglect.
California defines child neglect as inaction that leads to the neglect of a child’s essential needs, including being properly fed and clothed, etc. Anyone tasked with looking after the well-being of a child, including older relatives, can be accused of committing child neglect.
This in turn can lead to the loss of custody.
- Alienation of the Other Parent
This might come as a surprise to many, but in California, actively alienating the children from a parent warrants the other parent to initiate legal action in response to this alienation.
It is worth noting that effectively proving alienation is not always a simple task, which is where the assistance of a family law attorney comes into play.
- Fake Allegations Involving Child Abuse
Any type of fake allegation is heavily frowned upon in California, and the courts will not hesitate to take action if any false accusations of neglect or abuse come to light, either during the initial legal stand-off or after custody and visitation arrangements have been sorted out.
Anyone who is found guilty of making false allegations of any kind is at risk of losing custody of their children.
Get started on your case today. Call Fenchel Family Law at (415) 650-1112 and schedule your consultation with our child custody lawyers in San Francisco.
We Help You Take Your Life Back
We empower our clients to take their lives back as they navigate parenthood marriage, & divorce toward more vibrant futures.
No case is the same. We take the time to listen to our clients and really understand their goals and the future they are trying build.
Divorce can impact many areas of your life; therefore, we help our clients identify potential snares and give them the tools they need.
Honest & Straightforward
We pride ourselves on being a trusted advisor. If we feel pursuing something could negatively impact your case, it's our job to let you know.