Beverly Hills Child Custody Attorney
Child custody cases can be complicated. We have the experience and insight you need to secure the custody arrangement you want. Families have trusted our Beverly Hills child custody lawyers with their most sensitive family disputes for more than 25 years.
We know that children are vulnerable to the negative aspects of custody disputes and do everything in our power to protect them.
If you have a child custody dispute, it is important for you to understand your legal rights and options.
At Berenji & Associates, our attorneys are here to help you determine the best solution for your children and fight to make those solutions a reality. Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Understanding Child Custody in Beverly Hills, CA
In Beverly Hills, both parents share an equal right to enjoy custody of their children. That right can be contested in court. Custody cases involve disputes between parents over the care, control, and support of a child under the age of 18. There are many reasons that a family may have a child custody dispute, including:
- Concerns about a child’s safety and welfare
- Domestic violence
- Grandparent disputes
- Mental illness
- Relocation, and
Parents are encouraged to try to resolve custody disputes on their own with the assistance of family law facilitators and attorneys. This allows parents to maintain some control over the outcome of the dispute. If a child custody dispute goes to court, a judge will have the authority to make unilateral decisions about a child’s future.
Best Interests of Your Child
Judges will always make decisions that reflect the best interests of the child. The best interests of a child are determined by considering certain factors. These include:
- The child’s health, safety, welfare.
- History of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse.
- Nature and extent of contact with each parent.
- Habitual and/or continued use of illicit drugs.
In California, the law presumes that joint physical and legal custody is in a child’s best interest. Joint custody means that both parents share the right to make decisions for and be present in the child’s life. This is because the state believes that it is in a child’s best interest to have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. However, if a judge is presented with evidence showing that joint custody is not in the child’s best interest, he or she has the power to augment a parent’s custodial rights.
Common reasons that a judge may limit or revoke a parent’s custodial rights include:
- Domestic abuse
- Drug and/or alcohol addictions
- Verified mental health issues
- Unsafe living conditions
- Abusive step-parent, and
- Unilateral relocation.
However, the court must be presented with verifiable and reliable evidence. Deciding to take away a parent’s custodial rights will have a profound impact on the parent and child.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
There are two distinct types of custody: legal and physical. Custody disputes can involve one or both of these types of custody. Custody can be sole (awarded to one parent) or joint (shared by both parents).
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about their child’s life. Specifically, California Family Code S 3003 defines legal custody as the “right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.”
Parents with legal custody can make decisions about things like the kind of medical treatment a child gets, the religion they practice, or which type of school they attend.
Sole Legal Custody: When sole legal custody is awarded, one parent (i.e. the custodial parent) is granted the singular right to make important decisions about their child’s life. However, the non-custodial parent cannot be prevented from accessing records that are relevant to their child’s life (e.g., medical, school).
Joint Legal Custody: Joint legal custody allows both parents share the right to make important decisions about their child’s life. The parent’s actual physical location is not necessarily an important factor for the purposes of legal custody. Decisions can be made from a distance. However, parents must do everything in their power to find mutually-agreeable resolutions to any disputes. Courts can augment joint custody arrangements if parents cannot demonstrate the ability to make joint decisions.
Physical custody refers to a parent’s right to live with and supervise their child.
Sole Physical Custody: When sole physical custody is granted, a child will live with one parent (i.e. the custodial parent) for 100 percent of the time. The other parent (i.e. the non-custodial parent) may be entitled to visitation. Visitation can be supervised or unsupervised. However, the child does not remain with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.
Joint Physical Custody: When joint physical custody is granted, each parent will have the right to custody for a specific percentage of time.
How is a parent’s timeshare custody determined in a joint physical custody arrangement? There are many factors that can go into the determination. These may include:
- The child’s preference
- Where the child goes to school, and
- The amount of time each parent can realistically spend with the child.
A parent’s timeshare custody percentage can directly impact child support obligations. The less time a parent spends with their child, the more they will likely have to pay in financial support.
Handling Child Custody Disputes in Beverly Hills
Are you struggling with a child custody or visitation issue? Do you think that your child is unsafe around his or her other parent? Are you afraid that your child’s best interests aren’t being met in your current custody arrangement? Contact the Beverly Hills child custody attorneys at Berenji & Associates for help.
We understand that your children and their well-being are the most important things in the world to you. It is our mission to help you fight for a custody arrangement that puts them in the best possible situation. We can help you request a new custody arrangement or modify an existing one. Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation with our compassionate legal team. We are here to help you protect your children when it matters most.