Paving the Pathway to a Promising Future

Child Custody Lawyer in Orange County

Helping Clients Maintain Important Family Relationships

When you are going through a divorce, many decisions must be made that have a huge impact on your future, including your family relationships. One of the most critical issues that must be addressed is the child custody arrangement. A child custody dispute can prevent you from having a meaningful relationship with your children and leave them in the hands of someone who will not be their best guardian.

A child custody order assigns guardianship to one or both parents depending on each parent’s ability to provide and care for the children. False accusations of abuse and other problems could mean that you do not have access to your children or have limited visitation rights. However, with a skilled family law attorney on your side, you can get the legal counsel and support you need to get a favorable outcome in your child custody case.

At The Bledsoe Firm, we have helped many families make decisions in mediation and family court. We have handled countless complex child custody cases in our decades of practice in family law. Whether you are seeking full legal custody, joint legal custody, visitation rights, or to establish paternity, we can help. Before you start your child custody proceeding, please contact our law office to speak with a child custody attorney who will fight for you. You can schedule an initial consultation with our child custody lawyers at 949-889-1227.

What Options Do I Have For Child Custody In California?

Child custody and visitation agreements are a critical part of a California divorce involving minor children. There are many different forms that you can use when approaching your child custody case, making this matter a complicated one to work through.

An Orange County child custody lawyer can advise you based on your unique circumstances and will fight for your rights to legal custody, whether that involves mediation or presenting your custody case before a judge. When reaching a decision, a family must consider who will have legal and physical custody of the children. This may include sharing joint custody or one parent retaining full custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the responsibility for caring physically for the children after a divorce and is also known as residential. The children will live at the home of the parent or parents with physical custody. How much time the children spend at each home depends on the court order, which will be determined according to such factors as:

  • The location of each parent’s home
  • The ages of the children
  • Whether the ex-husband or ex-wife engaged in domestic violence
  • The homes’ proximity to the child’s school and activities
  • The preference of the children, if they are old enough to decide

Legal Custody

Legal custody may not be as visible as physical custody, but it is equally important in a divorce. This type of custody determines how the parents will handle the child’s education, what activities they will be in, what religion they will practice, and how to handle their health and general well-being.

Just as with physical custody, legal custody may also be shared in partial custody or be awarded to a sole primary caregiver. Shared custody may result in contention over these important factors of raising the child. A child custody lawyer can present your case before a judge to help ensure your opinions and beliefs are respected in the final custody arrangement.

Joint Custody

As mentioned, joint custody refers to former spouses sharing the responsibility of raising the children. This includes creating a parenting schedule to decide when the child will live or visit with each parent. If your ex-spouse fails to fulfill their obligations according to a court-ordered parenting plan, you may need to take legal action in family court.

Sole Custody

In certain situations, a family court judge may award sole custody to one parent in a child custody battle. This could occur in cases of domestic violence or neglect where one parent is not able to provide a safe environment for the children. The parent with primary custody would have legal and physical custody of the children. However, the non-custodial parent could be awarded visitation rights in a visitation agreement.

How Are Orange County Child Custody Decisions Made?

Judges in Orange County family courts try their best to keep the child’s best interests at heart. Because of this, most judges try to avoid awarding sole custody to a primary custodial parent because it is usually better for the child’s well-being to have both parents in their lives. However, depending on their ability and willingness to take the children, one parent might have a greater share of residential custody.

Some things a judge may consider when developing a child custody arrangement include:

  • How involved each parent has been in the child’s life
  • The relationship between the two parents
  • The relationships between the children and their parents
  • The location of each parent’s home
  • The location of the child’s school and regular activities
  • The family history, including instances of domestic abuse
  • Whether either parent has engaged in substance abuse
  • Any history of neglect or abandonment
  • Each parent’s criminal record
  • Each parent’s financial situation and ability to provide for the child
  • The child’s preference, as long as they are old enough to decide

For help getting the results you need in your custody case, please reach out to our Orange County child custody attorneys immediately.

Can Mediation Work To Reach A Decision Regarding Child Custody?

Many California courts require couples to try finding solutions to child custody issues through mediation before bringing the matter before a judge. Mediation can be a wonderful way to reach an agreement between both parents that meets the family’s unique needs. Many individuals who use mediation rather than resorting to litigation enjoy less feelings of anger and fewer grudges toward their former spouse.

In mediation, the couple meets together or with the ex-spouse’s lawyer. For example, in cases of domestic violence, it may be too difficult to have the individuals in the same room. Your lawyer can even meet with your ex’s lawyer on your behalf. If you can reach an agreement through mediation, you may be able to avoid a lengthy, expensive court battle. However, decisions reached in mediation are not legally binding, so it is difficult to enforce the obligations in a custody arrangement following mediation.

Our experienced child custody lawyers are ready to help you through the mediation process to avoid the stress and expense of a court battle. Reach out to our child custody attorneys today to get the counsel and representation necessary to navigate the complex matter of mediation during child custody proceedings.

What Visitation Rights Can I Expect As A Non-Custodial Parent?

If your ex-spouse was awarded sole custody, this doesn’t mean you will never see your children again. The judge may award you visitation rights or even supervised partial physical custody. With an experienced child custody attorney defending your rights, you can be sure to get a visitation schedule that works for you and preserves your precious relationship with your children.

Retaining visitation rights can be difficult in some instances, such as in cases of the alleged abuse. If your spouse is falsely accusing you of abuse, this could affect their custodial rights in California.

Visitation rights and schedules are often part of a parenting plan, which outlines when the children will live or visit with each parent. The plan may include whether the non-custodial parent will have supervised visitation or if their visits will be unsupervised. A parenting plan can also include decisions about the child’s education, religion, healthcare, and daycare.

What Are Grandparents’ Rights When A Couple Divorces In Orange County?

Parents aren’t the only ones who can establish visitation rights during a family law case. While grandparents don’t have natural rights recognized under California law, they may petition for the right to visit with their grandchildren and remain a part of their lives.

Some factors that can influence whether a court will award the grandparents with visitation rights include:

  • Whether the grandparents have a strong relationship with the children, such as frequent visits or being a part of important events
  • Whether interaction with the grandparents will have a positive impact on the child, grandparents who violate agreements or undermine the parents may not receive visitation rights.
  • The age of the children
  • The relationship between the grandparents and the child’s parents
  • Whether both parents are living
  • Whether the children have been adopted by a step-parent or another family
  • Whether the parents were previously married

Obtaining visitation rights or custody rights as a grandparent can be challenging in California. The courts attempt to make the child’s best interest the top priority, so you will need to work with a talented family law firm to prove that being a part of the child’s life will be to their benefit. Contact a family lawyer from The Bledsoe Firm today to learn what we can do to help you achieve your goals and maintain a close bond with your grandchildren.

How Can Establishing Paternity Help Me Keep Custody Of My Children?

Another legal issue that can affect custody is whether or not you have established paternity for the children. Paternity in California matters because fathers seeking custody without having paternity established may face a long, uphill battle. You can establish paternity legally in Orange County in several ways, including marriage, voluntary declaration of paternity, and court-ordered paternity.

Paternity Through Marriage

Married couples who have children typically have assumed paternity, meaning a child conceived while the couple is married is assumed to be the child of the husband. Fathers in California have legal rights that should be protected during and after divorce.

Voluntary Declaration Of Paternity

Unmarried couples who have a child may voluntarily declare paternity when the child is born. To accomplish this, both parents should sign the birth certificate. A father may also declare paternity later, but this would take place at an office of the California Department of Child Support Services. Reversing a voluntary declaration of paternity is a difficult legal process, so reach out to an attorney before taking any action regarding paternity in your family.

Court-Ordered Paternity

If you do not have paternity through marriage or a voluntary declaration, you may take legal action to seek paternity for your children. This involves submitting an application and could also involve DNA testing, such as a cheek swab. Your family law attorney can help ensure your application is submitted completely and quickly, minimizing the amount of time it takes to establish paternity.

Benefits Of Establishing Paternity

Families who establish paternity in California enjoy a great number of benefits, including greater access to the child’s medical history, the ability to take advantage of government benefits and insurance, and the ability to pass on an inheritance to the child. Above all, the family can enjoy tighter bonds and more fulfilling relationships.

One of the most important benefits of establishing paternity is being able to gain custody of your children. Without paternity, you have no legal right to make important decisions about your child’s education, healthcare, or well-being. You may lose the right to live with your children or even visit with them. To protect your rights as a father, reach out to our experienced paternity lawyer today.

How Can An Orange County Child Custody Attorney Help Me?

There is too much at stake in your child custody case to leave this delicate matter up to an attorney without a great deal of skill and confidence. Settling the matter outside of court can save you time and money, but it should still be handled by a knowledgeable family law lawyer. Without the help of an attorney, you risk losing out on the chance to be a part of your child’s life and get the financial support you need.

Some ways a lawyer can represent you in family law matters are:

  • Protecting you from false allegations of abuse
  • Providing important evidence to ensure you get a fair child support settlement
  • Representing you during negotiations so the visitation schedule matches your needs
  • Helping a judge understand the best way to provide a good life for your children
  • Offering legal counsel about your options
  • Developing a plan that gets you a favorable outcome in your child custody case
  • Working with your spouse’s attorney to create a parenting plan that matches your family’s unique needs

Call The Bledsoe Firm right away to get started working with an experienced child custody attorney.

Should You Hire Our Orange County Child Custody Attorney?

Facing a divorce in Orange County can be incredibly difficult. This area of California sees some of the most complex divorce cases in the nation, with individuals protecting their wealth and families during their marriage breakup. An Orange County divorce requires skilled attorneys who understand family law and will dedicate their time and energy to getting a favorable outcome. This is no exception when it comes to child custody issues.

Attorney John A. Bledsoe has worked tirelessly for nearly 30 years to provide clients with the legal counsel and representation they need when facing child custody battles. Our legal team will listen closely to your concerns and dedicate our time and energy to finding solutions that match your needs and goals. We will answer your questions in terms you can understand and provide support for you and your family during this emotional time. We promise to treat you as a unique individual, not as a case number.

When your precious family relationships are at stake, you need a legal team you can trust to provide legal services you can rely on. Call our family law firm right away at 949-889-1227 to learn more about how we can help protect your rights as a parent and guide you into a bright new future.