Torrance Child Custody Lawyer
Navigating Child Custody Complexities in California
In child custody cases, there is no room for error. The outcomes affect the lives of children and their parents for years. Because so much is at stake, turning to a trustworthy and experienced attorney like Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, is essential. He has worked as a child custody lawyer in Torrance for 30+ years, serving families throughout Los Angeles County. With his extensive know-how and skill, you can trust him to fight for your rights and the well-being of your child or children. To speak with Attorney Shook about the details of your case, reach out to set up a free case review.
Call Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, today at (310) 361-2977 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our child custody attorney in Torrance!
How Is Child Custody Decided in California?
Navigating the complex web of child custody laws in California demands a seasoned legal professional, and Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, is here to guide you through the process. The primary focus in determining child custody in California is the child's best interest. The court evaluates various factors, including the child's age, health, emotional ties with each parent, and their respective abilities to provide a stable environment.
California family courts encourage parents to collaborate and mutually agree on custody arrangements through mediation. When parents cannot agree, the court intervenes, making decisions based on the child's well-being. Having a knowledgeable legal representative by your side is crucial to present a compelling case that aligns with the child's best interest.
What are the Different Types of Custody?
Understanding the nuances of custody arrangements is paramount when addressing child custody matters. California recognizes two primary types of custody:
- Legal Custody: Legal custody is the authority to make significant decisions regarding the child's welfare, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. The court may grant joint legal custody, where both parents share decision-making responsibilities, or sole legal custody, where one parent has exclusive decision-making authority.
- Physical Custody: Physical custody involves the child's actual residence. Similar to legal custody, physical custody can be joint, with the child spending substantial time with both parents or sole, where the child primarily resides with one parent. In joint physical custody cases, a parenting plan detailing each parent's time with the child is often established.
What Makes a Parent Unfit?
In certain circumstances, the court may deem a parent unfit for custody, prioritizing the child's safety and well-being. Factors that may contribute to a determination of parental unfitness include:
- Substance Abuse: A history of substance abuse, whether drugs or alcohol, can significantly impact a parent's suitability for custody. Courts prioritize the safety of the child and may limit or deny custody if substance abuse is a concern.
- Domestic Violence: Instances of domestic violence can be decisive in custody determinations. Courts take allegations of abuse seriously and may restrict or deny custody to a parent with a history of violence.
- Neglect or Abuse: Any evidence of neglect or abuse towards the child may result in a finding of parental unfitness. This includes physical, emotional, or psychological harm inflicted on the child.
- Criminal Activity: Criminal convictions, especially offenses against children, can significantly impact a parent's custody rights. The court assesses the nature and severity of the criminal activity when making custody decisions.
- Mental Health Issues: Severe mental health issues that pose a risk to the child's well-being may impact custody determinations. The court considers the parent's ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment.
Visitation agreements are an essential aspect of child custody. They outline the visitation rights and schedules for non-custodial parents, ensuring they have regular and meaningful contact with their children. In most cases, parents can draft these agreements without going to court. An agreement should include details about the frequency and duration of visits, holiday and vacation schedules, transportation arrangements, and any necessary restrictions or special provisions. If parents cannot agree on visitation, going to court is necessary.
Can You Modify a Custodial Agreement?
Understandably, parents could need or want to alter a custodial arrangement or a visitation schedule. Parents cannot make changes without formally filing for them. Doing so could lead to serious legal consequences, including the loss of custody.
To modify a custody agreement, parents must agree on the changes. Should both parents consent to the modification, they must only file it with the court to finalize the change.
A judge will hear the case when one parent disagrees with the modification. Typically, a court will require the parent who wants the modification to provide evidence of a significant change in their life that necessitates a new agreement. Additionally, the parent must demonstrate that the modification will be in the child’s best interests.
Contact Our Torrance Child Custody Attorney Today
Navigating child custody matters requires a skilled legal advocate who understands the intricacies of California family law. Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, is dedicated to providing effective and compassionate representation for our clients. Our firm is committed to safeguarding the child's best interests while advocating for our client's rights. If you face child custody challenges, trust Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, to guide you through the legal process with expertise and diligence.
Contact Michael D. Shook, Attorney At Law, today to schedule a consultation with our child custody lawyer in Torrance!