Child custody is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of any divorce case. In California, court hearings are one way to decide the issue. Custody is all about the rights and responsibilities of parents. Visitation is a related term and refers to the way that parents spend time with their children.
Understand California Child Custody Laws
One of the most important things to do when preparing for your child custody hearing is to be informed on the legal process. In California, there are two kinds of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the responsibility for children and the ability to make decisions on their behalf. Parents can have joint or sole legal custody of a child. Parents with legal custody can make big decisions, like where the child will go to school and what doctors the child will see.
Physical custody is different. Parents can share joint physical custody, or one parent may have sole custody. Where parents have joint physical custody, it's typical for the division of time to be slightly unequal. This is because it's hard to achieve an exactly fair, 50/50 split.
Gather Essential Documents
When you begin your custody case, it’s crucial you provide all relevant documents to the court. By working with a skilled Murrieta custody attorney, you can rest assured you have all the correct paperwork and what personal records are admissible.
Documents that you might want to bring may include:
Phone logs, emails, text messages, etc.
Annotated visitation schedule
Proof of child-support payments
Any other relevant notes
Work With a Mediator
Divorcing couples can also agree on custody terms without intervention from the court. The first step is to meet with a mediator and try to arrive at a custody schedule on their own. Sometimes, one person wants full custody and won't negotiate. In that case, it's time to go to court. Child custody hearings are set according to the court calendar and can take a long time to obtain a hearing date.
Speak to a Murrieta Attorney Today
Going to court means the couple loses control. When the judge makes a ruling, it's binding. Appeals take even more time and are even more costly. It's important to have a skilled lawyer, no matter how you decide to proceed. The experienced family law attorney at Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson, APC is here to help our clients through the custody process efficiently while protecting their family’s rights.
Call Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson, APC today at (951) 418-2770 to learn how our firm can prepare you for your Murrieta child custody case.