Chula Vista Child Custody Lawyer

Chula Vista Child Custody Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce in Chula Vista, California, your children are your top priority. Your divorce is a life-altering event for them, so you want to do everything within your power to protect them. At San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, we help you protect your children by working to obtain child custody that benefits them.

When you are fighting for the custody of your child, you need an experienced, aggressive, and trusted legal advocate on your side. Our Chula Vista child custody attorneys at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, have over 30 years of combined experience handling complex family law issues. Attorney Puja A. Sachdev is a trained family law mediator. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS).

Sometimes, it is difficult for parents to agree on matters related to child custody and visitation. A seasoned Chula Vista family law attorney can help you make sound decisions that promote your child’s well-being.

Call our law offices today to schedule a free consultation at (619) 866-3756.

How San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC Can Help You With a Child Custody Matter in Chula Vista, California

How San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC Can Help You With a Child Custody Matter in Chula Vista, California

Navigating child custody matters in California can be legally and emotionally challenging. The outcomes of a child custody case impact the parents and the children for close to a couple of decades, depending on the children’s ages.

Some child custody cases can be settled through mediation. Our Chula Vista family law attorneys are trained and resourceful mediators and negotiators who use divorce mediation to help parties find common ground to resolve child custody disputes. However, we are also aggressive trial lawyers who fiercely fight for your child’s best interest in court when necessary.

When you hire our top-rated child custody lawyers in Chula Vista, you can trust we will:

  • Take time to listen to you as you explain your situation to ensure we have a thorough understanding of what is needed in your case
  • Assist you in prioritizing matters related to child support
  • Develop a strategic plan to achieve the child custody agreement you desire
  • Aggressively fight to protect your children’s best interest, including protecting them from parental alienation, abuse, and neglect
  • Use mediation to negotiate a parenting plan that works best for your family
  • Work with top-rated child custody experts, medical specialists, custody evaluators, psychologists, and other experts as needed
  • Prepare the case for trial and argue your case in front of a judge, if necessary

Our legal team at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, is well-versed in all matters related to child custody in California. We provide compassionate support, guidance, and legal advice as you work to resolve a child custody case. 

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced child custody lawyer in Chula Vista, CA. 

What Is Child Custody in Chula Vista, CA?

A family court can grant parents two types of child custody: legal and physical. Child custody also determines whether parents share custody or if one parent has sole custody. Here is what you need to know about the types of child custody in California.

Physical custody refers to a parent’s right to live with the child and spend time with the child. Generally, a child spends most of their time living with one parent. Splitting time 50-50 can be too disruptive. Therefore, the child spends most nights in one home to provide stability and continuity.

The parent with the primary physical care of the child is known as the custodial parent. The other parent is the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent has visitation with the child. Parents may argue about physical custody because it plays a role in calculating child support obligations.

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make significant decisions for a minor child. For example, a parent with legal custody can make decisions for the child regarding their education and healthcare. They also make decisions related to religious upbringing and extra-curricular activities.

Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody

Courts in California prefer joint custody arrangements whenever possible.

Joint physical custody gives each parent the right to spend time with their children and have their child live with them. However, having joint custody does not mean you split time equally. A timeshare custody arrangement determines when each parent has the children. Even in joint custody arrangements, the children usually have a primary residence with the custodial parent.

Joint legal custody gives each parent the right to make major decisions for their children. The parents should make important decisions together so that each has input. When parents disagree about decisions and if they cannot resolve their differences through mediation, additional litigation could result.

Sole custody grants one parent all custodial rights. The parent does not need to consult with the other parent about important decisions. The non-custodial parent has no right to make decisions for the child or have the child live with them. The non-custodial parent may have visitation, including an overnight stay every other weekend.

Judges often grant sole custody when joint custody would be harmful to the child. A parent may be unfit to have custody. Physical and legal custody are two separate issues. Therefore, parents may share joint physical custody, but the court grants sole legal custody to one parent.

Types of Visitation in Chula Vista Child Custody Cases

Children are presumed to benefit from a close, ongoing relationship with both parents unless a parent is unfit or other circumstances make joint custody unfavorable. However, splitting custody 50-50 is challenging. Therefore, the child usually lives primarily with the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent is granted visitation.

Parents are encouraged to develop a time-sharing plan that allows both parents to spend ample time with the children, barring any problems related to fitness, abuse, or neglect. There are several types of visitation the courts might order, including:

Reasonable Visitation

If the parents can cooperate, the court might order reasonable visitation. The court does not order specific dates and times for visitation. Instead, the parents are encouraged to develop a flexible visitation arrangement that works best for the family to allow for variations based on what is needed at any given time.

Scheduled Visitation

Parents may negotiate a shared visitation schedule that sets specific days and times for visitation. The timeshare agreement outlines when the children will be with each parent. If parents cannot agree, the court can order scheduled visitation. A standard schedule is every other weekend with a night during the week on alternating weeks.

Supervised Visitation

The court may order supervised visitation if the judge believes that the non-custodial parent could pose a threat to the child if left alone with them. Supervised visitation requires another adult to be present during all visitations.

No Visitation

Allowing a parent to have physical contact with a child could be dangerous in some situations. If so, the judge may order no visitation with the non-custodial parent.

How Is Child Custody Decided in Chula Vista, CA?

Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child. When courts issue custody orders, the child’s best interest is the primary concern. California Family Code §3011 lists the factors judges must consider when deciding what is in a child’s best interest for custody.

Factors judges consider include, but are not limited to:

  • A history of abuse by either parent
  • The safety, welfare, and health of the child
  • A parent’s abuse or continued use of alcohol, controlled substances, and/or prescription medications
  • The nature and amount of contact with each parent

Judges consider any factor they deem relevant to deciding the child’s best interest. They can consider a child’s reasonable preferences for custody. Judges may consider a parent’s health, the child’s special needs, and the stability of the home. They consider whether the parents can work together to resolve differences, their schedules, and whether they have someone else living in the home.

Judges do not give preference to or favor either parent at the beginning of a child custody case. Courts prefer to grant joint custody when possible. However, when it is clear that joint custody is not in the child’s best interest, judges must determine a custody arrangement to benefit and protect the child.

It is important to note that courts have jurisdiction over child custody issues even when parents agree on custody terms. The judge reviews the proposed parenting plan to ensure the terms are in the child’s best interest. If not, the judge may modify the agreement to protect the child.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chula Vista Child Custody Lawyers

Contact San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC to discuss your case with an experienced Chula Vista child custody attorney. We are here to help with all matters related to your divorce, including resolving child custody matters. Take the first step to give your child the best future possible.