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Child Custody Attorneys

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Child Custody Services in California

If you are facing a first-time child custody case or would like to seek a modification of legal custody, it is important that you work with a thorough and compassionate child custody lawyer to help guide you along the way. At Cage & Miles, we have handled hundreds of family law and legal custody proceedings. We will represent you and your interests in order to secure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

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What Matters Most in a Child Custody Case

Throughout a child custody case, the judge will weigh several factors when deciding on a parenting plan which fits the best interests of the child. You can get an in-depth understanding of the details from our Child Support Guide here, but these factors include:
  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child
  • The nature and amount of contact the child has with both parents
  • The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, the habitual or continual abuse of alcohol, or the habitual or continual abuse of prescribed controlled substances by either parent
  • A history of abuse by one parent 
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant

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Q.

How do I request a legal custody modification?

After custody has been decided by the court or agreed to by the parties, situations often arise in which one or both parties would like to change the orders. This could be the result of one parent’s desire to spend more time with the child, one or both parties deciding to pursue or modify joint custody, the result of a move (for work for example), or because the petitioning parent feels that the child’s best interests are not being served by the other party.

It is a popular misconception that the judge will be unlikely to change the status quo and grant the modification. In actuality, the judge’s ruling will be based on the evidence presented and the petitioning parent’s reason for the request.

Q.

How should I handle holidays with our child custody schedule?

Holidays generally take precedence over the regular schedule in regards to child custody and include both religious and non-religious holidays. It is important to specify a holiday schedule in custody and visitation orders either at the temporary custody phase of the case or upon entry of judgment. Many parents alternate major holidays or divide the holidays up by the religious practices of each parent. It is advisable to have a set holiday schedule before the stress of the impending holiday season can make it difficult for parents to reach agreements.

Q.

What are my rights as far as working vacation time into my child custody schedule?

A: Many child custody orders permit parents to have uninterrupted vacation time with their children. The length of permitted vacations with young children often depends on the age and temperament of the child, and should not interfere with the other parent’s holiday time. For older teens, parents often plan their vacations around the teen’s schedule, especially if they have a job, extra-curricular activities or sports to attend. Most orders permitting vacation time require the vacationing parent to provide the other a minimum of 30 days notice and a full itinerary including flights, destination, lodging, and contact information. When drafting vacation orders, it is important to discuss each parent’s thoughts on international travel as well as cooperating with each other for the child to obtain a passport.

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Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

When it comes to understanding the difference between legal custody and physical custody, legal custody generally refers to the parent’s decision-making responsibilities for a child and physical custody refers to the care and primary residence of the child. For any couple deciding to divorce or separate, the welfare of the children is undoubtedly one of your most important concerns. In the state of California, child custody cases, when decided by a judge, are adjudicated based on the best interest of the child. Essentially, the judge’s mandate is to protect the child’s best interest by granting full or proportional custody to the parents or other family members or custodians based on their demonstrated abilities to care for the child and his or her needs.

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