Bakersfield Child Custody Lawyers
Protecting Parents & Children in Kern County & Beyond
As a parent, you want the best for your child - and so do we. Child custody cases can be nerve-wracking for parents. The last thing you need to do is agonize over the legal details while you work to care for your family.
That's what we're here for. At Divorced by Design, our experienced, compassionate Bakersfield child custody attorneys will help defend your parental rights in and out of court, working with you to pursue an outcome in your custody battle that enables your child to thrive.
Understanding Types of Custody in California
There are two types of custody:
- Legal custody enables a parent to make decisions concerning their child's rights, such as determining where they receive medical care or an education.
- Physical custody enables a parent to either house a child or visit them.
Parents typically share custody in one of two ways:
- In a joint custody arrangement, the parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child.
- In a sole custody arrangement, only one parent has physical and/or legal custody.
During custody cases, the court focuses on the child's best interests. California Courts begin custody cases with the baseline assumption that it's better for a child to see both parents regularly. As a result, joint legal and/or physical custody arrangements are significantly more common than sole custody arrangements.
How Do Custody Cases Work in CA?
If both parents agree on how to share custody, they can draft a joint parenting plan detailing a custody arrangement both parties agree to. This plan details the custodial rights of each parent, including when each parent will house the child. If a court approves the joint parenting plan, a judge can sign it, finalizing the custody arrangement.
If the parents disagree on how to share custody, they may need to attend court to litigate their custody case. They can each present a parenting plan to the judge and display evidence supporting their plan. The judge presiding over the case will make a final judgment and issue a parenting plan they consider equitable to finalize the custody arrangement.
Courts consider the following factors during custody cases:
- The age and health of each parent;
- Each parent's history with the child;
- Each parent's financial status and property holdings;
- Whether either parent has a history of behavior such as abuse or substance use that prevents them from being a reliable caretaker;
- How different types of custody arrangement may impact the child's life;
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to the case, including the child's opinion.
Courts typically only award sole custody to one parent if the child's other caretaker is deemed "unfit" by the court due to actions such as substance use or abuse.
Whichever parent the child spends more time with is the "custodial" parent. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the noncustodial parent may also be able to house the child or visit them at the custodial parent's residence. In some cases, the noncustodial parent is also responsible for paying child support.
Types of Visitation Rights
There a several types of visitation (time-share). Visitation orders depend on the best interest of the family, they can be:
- Scheduled Visitations made by the parents and the court that detail which dates and times the children will spend with each parent.
- Reasonable Visitations are great for parents who get along well because they are open-ended and allow parents to work it out between themselves.
- Supervised Visitations are used when a child's safety and well-being are in question. The other parent will need to be supervised by an adult or agency.
- No Visitation is given when there is emotional or physical harm to the children. This means the parent does not have contact with the children.
At Divorced by Design, our Bakersfield child custody attorneys understand how important your child is to you. We'll fight relentlessly for your parental rights in and out of court. Read our lawyer reviews to see why our clients choose us to win their child custody case in California.
Our team is here to shoulder the legal burden of your case so that you can focus on caring for your family.
We understand you have questions, our firm provides free consultations to help get you started in the right direction.
We understand that dealing with a family law dispute is never easy. We want to help ease that burden by making ourselves available when you need us most.
Our attorneys will customize their strategy to you and your needs, helping you identify and pursue a positive resolution in your case.
There are those few times over the years that I have had the honor to work with a professional who I knew as soon as they began speaking—this is an outstanding professional and an incredible person—working with you was one of those times.- Beverly