Santa Barbara, California Child Custody Attorney for Mothers
Every year, thousands of people divorce in the U.S., and California is no stranger to this reality. The divorce process can turn into a nightmare when determining who will have custody over their children and who will have to pay for their support. Going through this experience can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.
The Santa Barbara child custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth can help you navigate the complex family law system. We can fight vigorously and aggressively to obtain child custody for you. To learn more about your potential claim in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices at (805) 643-5555 today.
Understanding Child Custody Laws
Divorced parents often argue over who will obtain custody of their children. Traditionally, courts have favored the mother over the father in custody cases. However, in California, the father and the mother have equal opportunity to obtain custody of their children if the court understands he or she is able to protect and uphold their children’s best interests. There are several types of custody recognized by the state:
Sole Legal Custody
Sole legal custody grants one parent the power to make all the important decisions related to the child’s best interests. The decisions a parent with legal custody can make on behalf of his/her children include health care decisions, school selection, choice of religion, and other vital determinations.
Joint Legal Custody
Joint legal custody over your children means both parents have the responsibility to take care of them. This includes sharing the responsibility of making important decisions regarding religion, education, health care, and other parental decisions.
Primary Physical Custody
Primary physical custody is the term used to identify the parent with whom the child or children lives and spends most of the time with. The court will grant primary physical custody of the child to either the mother or the father, always considering what the best interests of the minor are. In some cases, the court may even grant sole physical custody to one parent, barring the other parent from seeing their children except through scheduled visitation.
Joint Physical Custody
Unlike sole physical custody, parents will each spend a significant amount of time with their children. This means the children can reside with either parent, who split time by having the kids on the weekend, or through other parenting time plans.
Unfortunately, many parents don’t always agree. When this happens, both parents will let the court decide what the best course of action is. This can be a confusing and difficult process. A skilled family law attorney can help you navigate the California child support system.
Do Mothers Always get Custody in CA?
Courts used to grant sole physical custody of children to their mothers. However, custody determinations have changed through the years for different reasons. For instance, women who work long hours and are unable to spend adequate time with her children may have lower chances of obtaining sole custody over her children. Additionally, if the father can prove the mother is unfit to have custody over the children, the court can decide to grant custody of the children to their father.
Keep in mind the court will look at different factors when determining custody. For instance, the court will look at the emotional and mental health of the minor. Additionally, the court will assess how strong the parent-child relationship is. Keep in mind the courts will always take the child’s best interests into account when determining custody.
There are instances where a mother can obtain sole custody over her children if she can prove to the court the father is not fit to have custody. For example, a mother can have sole custody if she can show the father has a history of domestic violence or violence against the children. Also, if she can prove the father has serious alcohol or drug problems, she can obtain sole physical custody of her kids.
Remember, these and other allegations must be proven in court. It is not sufficient to say you are the mother and therefore you must be granted custody. In California, there is no presumption in favor of a mother when it comes to custody; both parents have equal chances of obtaining care. This means California courts will not favor one gender over the other when determining custody.
Santa Barbara Child Custody Attorneys Offering Free Consultations in California
Facing the legal system can be daunting and stressful. However, you should not let that stop you from obtaining high-quality legal representation from an experienced Ventura family lawyer. At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, we know what it takes to represent your best interests and uphold your rights as a custodial parent. To learn more about your custody case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.