Child Custody & Visitation

Child Custody & Visitation Sagaria Law, P.C. represents clients located in the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area who require assistance and advice in family law matters relating to child custody and visitation.

Child custody and visitation decisions are some of the most important aspects of a divorce or dissolution proceeding. Whoever has legal custody of a child will have the right and obligation to make decisions about that child.

In the state of California, either parent may be entitled to sole custody or both parents can share joint custody of their child(ren).

When determining how parental responsibilities should be shared, you and your former spouse or partner must determine:

  • The primary and secondary residences of your children.
  • Whether you and your former partner or spouse desire a rotating custody arrangement.
  • How to establish a visitation schedule.
  • How you and your former spouse or partner will make decisions that will affect your children.

Overall, when determining child custody and visitation matters, it is important to carefully consider your children's current and future needs, keeping in mind each parent's economic situation, personal circumstances, caretaking ability, caretaking availability, as well each child's bond with other siblings.

It is up to a judge to approve the arrangement, and if the parents are unable to agree upon an arrangement, a judge will determine the custody/visitation arrangements at a court hearing.

Some factors that are in the "best interests of the child" that a court may consider when deciding custody issues:

  • The child's gender, age, physical, and mental health. If a child is 12 years of age or older, what he or she wants will be considered.
  • The child's established, day-to-day schedule
  • How changing the current living situation mght impact the child.
  • Both parents' physical and mental health.
  • Each parent's lifestyle, as well as other social factors such as whether there is any history of child or sexual abuse.
  • The emotional connection between each parent and the child.
  • Each parent's ability to provide for the child.
  • Both parents' ability and willingness to foster contact and healthy communication between their child and the other parent.

In certain instances, a judge may decide to award sole legal or physical custody of a child to just one of the parent.

Establishing a visitation schedule, regardless of the custody arrangement (unless, of course, one of the parents is considered a danger to the child), is important for the child's sense of stability and well-being. Parents sharing joint custody are expected to work out housing arrangements. If the parents cannot agree on these arrangements, then a California court will intervene.

In California, it is important, when making the Child Visitation Order, that the court not take into consideration:

  • Whether or not the parent is paying child support.
  • Whether a parent is absent from the family's home or whether the parent has relocated to a different city or state.
  • A parent's sexual orientation, lifestyle, or religious beliefs.

For example, even if you are the non-custodial parent, your children and your former spouse and partner live in Hayward, and you decide to move from Alameda County to the city of Anaheim or the state of Georgia, this decision of yours should not impact your visitation rights.

In certain instances, where allowing a child to spend time alone with the parent could endanger the child, a court may issue an order for supervised visitation where a parent is allowed to visit with the child in the presence of an authorized third party.

If neither parent is fit to assume custody of the children—either due to mental health problems, drug or alcohol abuse or physical absence—a court may grant child custody to someone else (such as a relative) or ask that the child be given a foster care or temporary guardianship arrangement.

At Sagaria Law, P.C., our family law attorneys can guide you through the many legal issues that may arise when reaching a child custody or visitation agreement. It is also one of our goals to ensure that you obtain a fair resolution of your concerns while helping you retain your privacy.

If you live in Santa Clara County, Sacramento County,or Alameda County and you need to determine child custody or visitation issues as you begin the dissolution of your partnership or marriage, Sagaria Law P.C. can help you.