If you are headed for divorce in Orange County, your divorce case may unfold in a much more complicated way than you might expect. The risk of a complex divorce is even greater if you have children with your spouse. Regardless of your feelings for one another, you and your spouse still have legal duties and responsibilities to your children. Unless the two of you can mutually agree to custody terms following your divorce, you will need to negotiate child custody as part of your divorce.
An experienced Orange County child custody lawyer can help you build a strong case for child custody and help the court make the most informed decision possible if your child custody case goes to trial. The family court systems of Orange County and throughout California have a legal obligation to rule on divorce cases with every effort made to preserve the best interests of the children involved in those cases.
Legal Counsel You Can Trust
If you are preparing for divorce and have concerns about your child custody rights, call our office. It’s vital to meet with an Orange County child custody attorney as soon as possible to clarify your position. At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, our team provides compassionate and responsive legal counsel through all phases of every case we accept. Whether you and your spouse are prepared to negotiate child custody peaceably through mediation or are readying yourselves for trial, we can provide legal counsel that promises peace of mind.
We take the time to get to know every client we represent, and we believe this individualized representation is especially important in child custody cases. Your Orange County child custody lawyer should be able to clarify your parental rights and help you determine what kind of custody arrangement would be in your child’s best interests. It’s often difficult for divorcing parents to reconcile their personal feelings for their soon-to-be exes and their responsibilities to their children, and custody may not turn out exactly how you hope. However, hiring the right Orange County child custody attorney to represent you can ensure your child custody determination is fair and in alignment with your children’s needs and best interests.
What to Expect in a Child Custody Determination
If your child custody case in Orange County moves to litigation, the judge overseeing your case has the final say in the custody arrangement you and your coparent must follow after the divorce is granted. Typically, California family court judges uphold that children benefit best when they have consistent, equal access to both parents, especially during younger years. Therefore, unless a divorcing parent has done anything to diminish their ability to claim parental rights, such as domestic violence, child abuse, or criminal activity, a judge will generally seek to grant a joint custody agreement.
Joint custody involves two forms of custody: legal custody and physical custody. “Legal custody” refers to the power a parent has to make major decisions on a child’s behalf, and “physical custody” refers to where the children spend their time. It’s not uncommon for divorced parents to have equal legal custody but slightly different physical custody rights if it makes sense for the children to live with one parent more often than the other. The divorced parents’ living arrangements following divorce, the locations of extended relatives and grandparents, and the children’s educational and medical needs can all come into play during custody determinations.
Divorcing parents may propose a parenting plan to a California family court judge. If they can provide sound reasoning why their proposed arrangement works for their family situation and there are no disputes, a judge may honor it so long as they believe it suits the children’s best interests. If you are uncertain about the idea of a judge and strict legal statutes having the final say in your child custody determination, consider divorce mediation. An experienced Orange County child custody lawyer can help.
Negotiating Child Custody in Mediation
Divorce mediation is a popular alternative dispute resolution method for divorcing couples, allowing them to keep their divorce proceedings private and negotiate a divorce agreement on their own terms. This allows the divorcing couple to talk through major issues in a more relaxed setting under the guidance of a neutral mediator who can clarify legal statutes as their negotiations progress.
Negotiating child custody in divorce mediation allows you and your coparent to develop a comprehensive parenting and custody arrangement that suits your family’s unique needs. You can talk through transportation between parental homes, responsibility for medical care, protocols for communication, shared passwords to children’s digital media accounts, and as many other details as you need. Mediation also provides a comfortable and constructive atmosphere for negotiating spousal maintenance, property division, and other aspects of your divorce.
At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, we encourage our clients to pursue divorce mediation whenever possible to streamline their divorce experiences and ensure their divorce decree is in their control, not a judge’s. When you choose divorce mediation, you can choose to have your legal representative attend some or all of your mediation sessions if you prefer additional certainty in your negotiations. Your Orange County child custody attorney can help ensure you cover as many contingencies as possible as you develop your child custody agreement.
Why Do I Need Legal Representation?
Even if you think your spouse is reasonable enough that the two of you can peacefully negotiate child custody, this is an understandably contentious area of divorce for any divorcing parent. Your Orange County child custody attorney can answer any questions you might have going into your proceedings so you can approach the situation with greater confidence. Your legal team will also conduct research and investigation on your behalf should the need arise to establish your fitness and accessibility as a parent. We can also help you develop a more comprehensive child custody agreement by identifying potential custody issues you may have overlooked without legal counsel.
You can expect responsive and compassionate legal representation from the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers. We understand that child custody negotiations can be incredibly difficult for divorcing parents, and litigating your child custody case can be even more challenging. Whatever type of legal proceedings you face in your divorce, you can rely on our team as your Orange County child custody attorneys.
Legal Counsel After Your Divorce Decree
Once you have obtained your divorce decree and child custody agreement, it is essential for you to review your rights and responsibilities very carefully. Violating a child custody agreement in any way can have serious legal repercussions and potentially damage your relationships with your children. If your coparent violates your child custody arrangement in any way, your Orange County child custody attorney can help you determine the best available response.
It is also possible to revisit your child custody agreement at a later date if your family’s needs change. For example, if a child earns a scholarship, displays extraordinary talent, or develops a medical condition requiring consistent treatment, the divorced parents may need to adjust their child custody agreement to reflect such changes. Your Orange County child custody lawyer will help you handle post-judgment motions and ensure any changes made accurately reflect your needs and your children’s best interests.
Orange County Child Custody Attorney Protecting Your Parental Rights
Divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience for anyone who goes through it. Especially for children, a divorce is an emotional and life-changing event. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, understand the importance of protecting your children’s well-being and safeguarding your parental rights during this difficult time.
Our law firm uses its 30 years of experience in negotiation, mediation and litigation to create custody agreements and visitation schedules that instill a sense of peace and security for clients throughout Orange County and Riverside County, California.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced Orange County child custody attorney, contact us today.