Helping You Fight For Your Children
When parents divorce or separate, their primary concern is the welfare of their child/children.
One of the main questions you may currently have is where your child will live – with you or with his/her other parent? In California, both parents begin with equal rights to child custody; despite common misconception, the mother is not automatically granted primary custody. When navigating matters of child custody, it’s important that you understand your rights. At Heidi D. Collier, APC, our child custody attorney knows that this can be an incredibly stressful aspect of divorce or separation, which is why she offers compassionate, personalized legal counsel that is tailored to your unique situation.
Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with a California Bar-Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization, attorney Heidi D. Collier, CFLS. Our child custody attorney in Escondido can help you understand your options and determine the best way forward. Call 760-933-0503. We service clients from Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Poway, Carmel Valley, La Jolla, and Santaluz.
How California Courts Decide On Child Custody
First, it is important to note that California law allows for two main types of child custody. These include:
- Joint custody: Both parents have equal rights to spend time with their child, and both parents are permitted to make legal decisions on the child’s behalf. Legal decisions include things like what school the child will attend, what medical care he/she will receive, etc.
- Sole custody: Only one parent is permitted to make legal decisions for the child, and the child will live only with one parent, though the noncustodial parent may be awarded court-ordered visitation with the child.
When determining child custody, California courts may rule based on the best interests of the child. Keep in mind, this is what the judge in your case determines to be the best interests of your child, not what you believe to be his/her best interests. Not always, however, is the best interest of the child a factor in determining custody and visitation. If the final order is made, the parent seeking to change the order must prove a “material change in circumstances” as it relates to the parties’ particular child, and the parents’ current situation.
The court will also look at various other factors when determining who should be awarded primary custody, including:
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The ability of each parent to care for the child
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence or substance abuse
- The child’s wishes (depending on the child’s age)
- How established the child is in his/her community, school, etc.
Note that this list is not exhaustive; child custody in your case will depend greatly on the various unique factors involved. Our Escondido child custody attorney can help you understand what to expect and work toward a favorable outcome.
Matters involving move-away issues, where one parent wants to move with their child out of the county of San Diego, involve legal standards that not all attorneys are well-versed in. These issues require a level of knowledge and experience that not all family law lawyers possess. All of these nuances of child custody and visitation laws are commonly dealt with by Ms. Collier‘s office.
Serving All Of San Diego County
With more than 24 years of experience, our Escondido child custody attorney, Ms. Collier is well-equipped to help you navigate the complexities of the family law system. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout the area, including downtown San Diego, Carlsbad, Oceanside and Encinitas.
Request a consultation with a California Bar-Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization when you call Heidi D. Collier, APC. You may also contact our Escondido child custody lawyer online via our simple case evaluation form.