Child Custody Attorneys Ready to Help
When children are involved, couples can often hold on to their relationship far longer than they reasonably should – it can sometimes come after years of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Many know someone who has suffered limited access to their children because of a messy custody battle, parental alienation, or an ex-spouse who can outspend them when it comes to legal representation. The suffering that can be associated with these divorces can be crushing, but child custody doesn’t have to be as scary and uncertain as it’s made out to be. In most cases, it comes down to two hurt people who want the same thing: what is best for their children. While it may take time to get to an agreement about what is best for their children, they are essentially on the same side. We are here to help you keep that perspective, helping you work through the challenges to get to a place of agreement.
If you may be seeking divorce and could potentially face child custody issues, contact us for help. We can even help you modify an existing custody agreement if that what you need for your unique situation. Contact Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office at (707) 669-0841 to schedule an appointment.
Drafting Parenting Time Agreements
While things like asset division and alimony can be tough topics during a divorce, child custody is often the most emotionally charged issue when a couple decides to split, and understandably so. Both parties often worry about losing time with their children, even if neither party actually intends to fight for sole custody. It’s a fear that crosses every parent’s mind, which is why we’re here to help you every step of the way.
In general, most parents get joint physical and legal custody in California—provided that both parents want to remain an active part of their children’s lives. If the court orders a primary or sole custody situation, it is typically due to extenuating circumstances that prevent one parent from being able to be the primary caretaker.
When we begin working with you on a custody agreement, our goal is to create a plan that meets your needs and honors your ex-partner’s needs while serving the best interests of your children. Many people still have an outdated idea of what a custody agreement is—they imagine dramatic court battles where parents sling insults at each other and fight tooth and nail for their children. That’s what we work with you to avoid. We understand that emotions run incredibly high when children are involved, but we also know that contentious custody battles can often do irreparable damage to the coparenting relationship, which can pave the way for future legal battles.
When possible, our first goal is to come to an agreement without having to take your case to court. This often means thoroughly discussing the details with you, your ex-partner, and your ex-partner’s attorney. Going in, we will work with you to figure out what is non-negotiable for you and where you may have some leeway. We will look at each parent’s work schedule and other obligations to determine what type of timesharing arrangement would be fair and equitable. This involves discussing school year schedules, summer and holiday schedules, and unusual situations like sick days or school cancellations. We will also discuss parents’ birthdays, holidays, the child’s birthday, and other days that may require special planning.
In most cases, parents can come to a fair agreement after discussing the issues and compromising. We then submit the agreement to the court for approval. If an agreement cannot be reached, the final decision will be determined by the courts. This means giving up your bargaining power—once the court makes a decision, you must abide by it. That’s why we prefer to negotiate with the other party whenever possible, helping you make the important decisions.
As a final note, parenting time is not the only thing to discuss. You also must work to determine physical and legal custody. Physical custody, as it sounds, refers to where the child spends their time. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, religion, and other important choices. These are also important choices that we will help you work through.
Modifying an Existing Agreement
Life changes, and we understand if an agreement you made one, five, or ten years ago may no longer serve your needs. Regardless of the reason, you may petition the court for a modified custody agreement. Perhaps one parent moves away, changes jobs or shifts, or becomes ill and can no longer care for their child. This usually goes the same route as an initial custody order. If both parties come to an agreement, we submit the modification to the court for approval. If one party disputes the change, the final decision goes to the court.
When One Parent Won’t Comply
For some parties, the challenges don’t end after a custody agreement is decided on and approved by the court. Some parents, either because they want to punish the other parent or they truly believe they have the right to override a custody order, refuse to abide by it. They might consistently fail to return the child to the other parent on time, randomly cancel their scheduled parenting days, demand additional time that is not agreed upon in the order, or even refuse to return the child. If this happens, we’re here to help. Documenting each violation of the custody order allows us to return to court to ask the court to enforce the order. In many cases, this is enough to remind the other parent that there are consequences for flouting the court’s decisions.
How Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office Can Help
The team at Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy Office knows well how challenging these issues can be. We have helped many clients navigate child custody cases, from simple agreements between amiable co-parents to drawn-out battles between parents that cannot agree on anything. We know that this all comes down to one root fear: losing your child. Through custody talks, a frank discussion of the issues, and negotiations, we will guide you through this process and keep you informed every step of the way.
We understand that for many people, child custody is the most emotionally draining and difficult parts of divorce. We strive to help you through this time by keeping you informed, empowering you to be an active part of the discussion, being a supportive but objective voice, and helping you find an agreement that protects your relationship with your child. This time may be challenging, but it will not last forever. With the right legal assistance, you can come through custody discussions with your dignity and coparenting relationship intact.
Reach Out for Help With Your Child Custody Case
Custody talks are often a source of contention and arguments during divorce, but they do not have to derail your life or destroy your coparenting relationship for years to come. We want to advocate for you and guide custody discussions in a meaningful and productive way. If your coparent violates your rights or otherwise tries to harm your relationship with your children, we are ready to step in and vigorously defend your best interests. To set up a child custody consultation, call Wine Country Family Law & Bankruptcy at (707) 669-0841 or reach out .
What to Expect
During your initial consultation of up to one hour (or by phone or video conference), we can discuss how we can help with:
- Establishing a Child Custody and/or Visitation Order
- Modifying a Child Custody and/or Visitation Order
- Divorce involving Children
- Mediating a Child Custody and/or Visitation Order
- Step-Parent and Second-Parent Adoption
- Termination of Parental Rights
- Name Changes
Talk to Child Custody Lawyers in Santa Rosa
If you’re a parent looking for child custody lawyers in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Petaluma or other area, you can turn to us. We have flexible service options to fit your needs such as:
- Full Service Representation (most popular option)
- Limited Scope Representation (services limited to a specific task such as a making a Court appearance on your behalf)
- Legal Consulting – Coaching (such as when you are self-represented in Santa Rosa – Sonoma County and need legal advice and assistance preparing for a hearing or when you are using a mediator but you need independent legal advice)
Please check out our client reviews to see for yourself what our clients have to say about us. It’s our commitment to providing high quality legal services in a friendly manner that sets us apart from the pack!