Ventura, CA Child Custody Attorney for Mothers

Mothers have a special bond with their children that a father or another parent may not understand.  When parents live in separate households, California law recognizes both parents’ parental rights and seeks to balance these rights and the best interests of the child.  That process may not always recognize the bond that a mother has with her children, and it can create complex legal challenges for mothers seeking child custody orders.

Our Ventura, California child custody lawyers help mothers throughout the Ventura area fight for custody rights to keep their children close, and we especially work to protect them from unsafe situations or abusive parents.  For help with your child custody case, contact the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today for a free consultation.  Our number is (805) 643-5555.

Types of Child Custody in California

Under California law, parents have two types of custody and multiple options for each type of custody.

Parents who have the legal right to make decisions in their children’s lives are said to have legal custody.  This gives them the right to make health care decisions, dictate their child’s religion, and make decisions about what school their child will attend.  Both parents have full rights to make these decisions and must agree on many choices or figure out some compromise that allows both parents to exercise their parental rights, such as attending multiple types of religious services or agreeing on a school that satisfies both parents’ wants.

Parents who have their child living with them in their home have “physical custody.”  Not only does this give you the right to be a parent on a day to day basis, it also gives you increased control over your children’s lives when you have them in your household.  Day to day decisions, such as what the child eats, whether they can spend time at a friend’s house, and what time they should go to bed are often dictated by the custodial parent.

These custody types can each be “sole” or “joint.”  In cases of sole custody, only one parent has custody, and the other does not have the rights or access that that type of custody grants.  For instance, a parent with sole physical custody is the only parent the children live with, and the children do not stay with the other parent.  If a parent has sole legal custody, the other parent has no right to make decisions for the child – but they may still be obligated to pay child support when required.

Joint custody is the most common type of custody in California.

Do Courts Favor the Mom for Child Custody in CA?

Despite common misconceptions, courts do not prefer to grant child custody to the mother other the father.  Instead, courts actually prefer to give joint physical and legal custody when possible.  This allows children to benefit from the involvement of both parents if the parents are willing and able to be parents.

In some cases, joint custody is not possible, and courts will typically award sole custody to the parent who is most suitable.  In cases where a parent gets sole physical custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights, but the court may order that the visitation be supervised by the custodial parent, a representative of the court, or another monitor.

In cases of physical or sexual abuse, drug abuse, crime, or other risks that put the children in danger, the court may strip a parent of custody completely.  In these cases, that parent will lose any right to access the child or make decisions in their child’s life, protecting the child from harm.  The court considers the best interests of the child when making these decisions and, as such, stripping a parent of custody does not usually relieve them of their duty to pay child support.

When deciding which parent gets custody, courts do not automatically give preference to the mother.  Historically, mothers have been primary caregivers for their children.  This may correlate to a higher rate of mothers who get custody, but these mothers do not get custody because they are moms.  In reality, whichever parent has the time and skills to care for their children’s physical, mental, and emotional growth often gets custody.

In many cases, this justifies joint custody, since both parents may be equipped for such tasks.  However, if one parent spends more time at work or has to travel frequently, the court may prefer to give increased parenting time or sole physical custody to the parent who is home more often.  Even if this means that the custodial parent works fewer hours and makes less money, the court may award primary custody to the non-working parent and solve financial inequality issues by ordering the working parent to pay child support.

California Child Custody Lawyers Representing Mothers

If you are a single mother or are going through a separation or divorce, it is important to consider seeking an official child custody order.  These orders can help solidify your rights and responsibilities as a parent, and they are also a necessary step in getting child support.  For help with your child custody case, call the Ventura child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.  Our number is (805) 643-5555, or you can reach us online.

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