Orange County Child Custody Lawyer
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 in Orange County, CA
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.
Orange County Visitation Attorneys Who Are Understanding And Sensitive To The Needs Of Children
If you are heading for child custody negotiations in Orange County, it’s essential to work with a compassionate and experienced Orange County child custody attorney to ensure your children have every possible advantage. Your attorney should take the time to get to know you and your family, learn your routine, and develop a firm understanding of what your children need to live healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives with appropriate access to both of their parents.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse poses a danger to you or your children, our firm can help you secure protective orders or restraining orders as necessary. With such an order in place, you can proceed through your divorce case with greater personal safety. At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, we firmly believe in protecting our clients’ interests and rights in every case we handle.
As a recognized leader in handling complex child custody matters and a certified family law specialist with a background in the mental health field, our founding attorney Dorie A. Rogers takes a special interest in challenging custody disputes involving:
- Child custody evaluations. The court has a duty to evaluate anyone who may obtain custody over children involved in a divorce case. When the court requires an official evaluation, we can help you prepare for this interview and build a strong case that shows why you deserve the custody arrangement you seek.
- High-conflict child custody. It’s natural for parents to feel compelled to secure as much custody as possible in a divorce, especially if they do not trust their spouse to provide safe and nurturing parenting to their children. When child custody is hotly contested between divorcing parents, our team will do everything we can to facilitate constructive negotiations and keep all discussions on track and in alignment with California state laws.
- Interstate custody. Some divorcing parents may decide to move to pursue new work opportunities or to live closer to their extended families. In the event your divorce case involves interstate custody issues, the team at the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers can coordinate our efforts with other legal teams in other states to ensure all aspects of your divorce decree are fully enforced.
- Relocation/move-aways. Moving may be unavoidable following some divorces. If you have any concerns about your intention to move or your spouse’s plans to relocate, your Orange County divorce lawyer is the ideal resource for answering your questions. They can help ensure all relocation issues are fairly considered during divorce proceedings.
- Parental alienation. No matter what feelings you might hold about your spouse, the fact remains that they are your children’s other parent and have the same parental rights as you do unless they have committed some type of crime or harmed you or your children. Unfairly alienating a parent from their children is unjust and harmful to their children as well. We can help defuse parental alienation issues and ensure that divorcing parents abide by the terms of their child custody agreement.
- Domestic violence incidents. If your spouse committed any type of domestic violence against you or your children, our firm will work quickly to secure restraining orders and/or protective orders to ensure your family’s safety during your divorce proceedings. We will also ensure that any history of domestic violence is thoroughly reviewed during your divorce case and child custody is arranged appropriately.
- Post-judgment orders. In the event your circumstances change following your divorce decree, you may need to alter your child custody arrangement. Your Orange County divorce attorney will guide you through the post-judgment motion process as necessary to ensure your children’s rights remain protected. For example, if a parent develops a severe medical condition, intends to move a long distance, or otherwise has any intention of altering your existing child custody agreement, a post-judgment motion is necessary to make the required changes to the agreement.
As your Orange County child custody attorneys, the legal team at the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers will analyze every aspect of your child custody dispute. We aim to maximize your custody rights and help you determine what type of custody and support arrangement would benefit your children the most.
Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody
In California, custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. Neither parent is favored by the court when making this determination. Our lawyers assist both mothers and fathers obtain custody of their children. If you are headed for a custody battle in Orange County, it’s essential to come to terms with the fact that the court may not grant you full legal and physical custody of your children. In most cases, the court will uphold the idea that children benefit most when they have consistent contact with both of their parents. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is a reliable and competent parent, they will likely obtain some custody rights with your divorce decree.
Generally, there are two types of custody:
- Physical custody, which refers to with whom the child will live.
- Legal custody, which refers to who has decision-making power regarding the medical care, religion, education and general upbringing of the child.
Typically, California courts favor granting joint custody. It is possible, however, to create a parenting plan that involves any combination of physical and legal custody. In some cases, it may better suit the children for their parents to share joint legal custody, but grant sole physical custody to one parent while granting ample visitation rights to the other.
California family courts may arrange physical custody based on how close the parents live to one another, where the children attend school, and the addresses of extended family members. Divorced parents can share physical custody, but one parent retains legal custody. It is also possible for both parents to retain legal custody rights and collaborate when it comes to major decisions about their children.
Many factors can influence physical custody and legal custody determinations. For example, if one of the parents has a criminal record or a history of any type of domestic violence, they may have very little room to argue for physical or legal custody rights. If one of the divorcing parents has a severe medical condition or disability that prevents them from performing all of their necessary parental duties, they may not qualify for physical custody but will likely retain legal custody and extensive visitation rights.
Preference Of The Child
Recent changes to California law require courts to consider a child’s custody preference if he or she is at least 14 years old. The court may consider the preference of a child under the age of 14, depending on the child’s actual age. If a child of divorcing parents can make a compelling statement to the court despite their age, the judge overseeing the divorce case will likely take their testimony and preference under advisement.
While some parents may be tempted to try and sway their children’s preferences by talking badly about their co-parent or even fabricating things about them, this is a very bad idea that ultimately diminishes that parent’s relationship with their children. Lying about your spouse to sway your children’s opinion of them or otherwise influence custody determinations can have significant consequences on the outcome of your divorce.
Contact Our Orange County, CA Child Custody Lawyers
We represent clients in all types of child custody cases, including those involving enforcement or modification of existing custody orders. Please contact The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, at 714-602-1492 to schedule a consultation with a San Clemente visitation lawyer.
“Dorie is a very powerful attorney and a great asset to have on your side in any family legal matter. She is extremely bright and insightful, and I got everything I asked for in my lawsuit.”
“I would strongly recommend Ms. Dorie Rogers for any legal needs. During my Divorce proceedings, Dorie’s professionalism, expertise in Divorce Law and legal skill helped bring my case to a close in both a timely and mutually agreeable manner.
Additionally, Dorie took the time to understand me and my background to better represent me in my case. She showed a level of caring and concern that helped me through a very difficult time. She is an outstanding lawyer and wonderful person.”
“Second to none – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dorie to anyone. She was my attorney for my divorce and custody case. She will do everything it takes to get the job done and all with a smile on her face. Her knowledge and expertise will assist anyone in a family law situation get the results they want.”
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