We Never Lose Site Of The Impact Of These Issues
A battle over child custody and visitation is often the most difficult and emotionally trying part of a divorce or other legal proceeding. In addition to divorce and legal separation proceedings, child custody and visitation issues may arise in parentage or guardianship proceedings.
Whether our clients are married or or unmarried, child custody and visitation rights can be contentious and have serious impact on both parents and children. Unfortunately, children often pay the price in a “custody battle” over how much time should be spent with each parent and how legal decisions related to the child should be made. We make every effort to assure that our clients have as much time with their children as possible.
If you need help during the child custody process or are dealing with child custody violations, please contact our office for a free phone consultation.
The following is brief summary of the issues in custody matters. In any custody issue the primary concern is always what is in the child’s best interest (not necessarily the parents).
- Physical and Legal Custody: Physical custody pertains to which parent has the right to be with the child at any given time. Legal custody relates to decisions involving the child’s health, education and welfare. Both types of custody may be shared jointly by the parents or awarded solely to one parent depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. We work to ensure that you have a fair voice and the opportunity to maintain a strong relationship with your children.
- Parenting Time (“Visitation”): California has a policy of promoting frequent and continuous contact between a child and both parents after the parents have separated, except where the contact would not be in the child’s best interests. “Visitation” is the common term used to describe time that the non-custodial parent has with the child and the percentage of time each parent has with the child is the parent’s “timeshare.” The timeshare percentage of each parent also affects child support. We work to ensure our clients have the time they need with their children.
- Custody Agreements and Determinations: The parents often can (and the courts encourage them to) agree on arrangements for custody and visitation. However, it is not always possible or advisable to settle custody and visitation issues. If the parents do not agree on who should be the primary custodial parent, we bring the issue before the court. Although there are several steps before a trial will be held in a custody dispute, the ultimate decision will be based on the court’s determination of the child’s best interests based on the evidence and arguments presented at the trial. It is therefore important to develop evidence concerning the nature of the child’s relationship to our client in a way that is meaningful in court. We may arrange for psychologists or other professionals to meet with our clients, in order to more fully develop the case.
- Enforcement and Modification of Custody Orders: When one parent claims that the other refuses to comply with custody orders or parenting schedules or disparages the other parent to the child or endangers the child in some way we will assist you in enforcing or defending against enforcement of the order. Custody and visitation orders can be modified when circumstances that were not addressed in the original order have arisen or where the parents’ initial parenting plan is having adverse effects on the child. In this case, we will represent you in seeking or defending against modification of a custody or visitation order.
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Di Maria & Cone
628 Cuesta Drive
Los Altos, CA 94024
Phone: (650) 321-4460
Fax: (650) 321-0632
Di Maria & Cone, located in Los Altos, represents clients throughout California, primarily on the San Francisco Peninsula and in Silicon Valley — in communities such as Atherton, Cupertino, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Woodside.