Child Custody

Child Custody Attorney in Santa Barbara

There’s a Lot at Stake; Choose Experienced CounselWoman holding child

If someone is fighting you over custody of your children, especially during a divorce, there might be more at stake than you realize. In California, child custody is split into two categories: legal custody and physical custody.

The consequences of losing – or maintaining – these types of custody, either wholly or partially, can radically impact the future of your relationship with your child. At Morales Law, our child custody attorney in Santa Barbara can help you fight to keep your role as a parent intact.

Contact us today at (805) 422-7966 to learn more about how we can help you maintain custody over your children. Your initial consultation is free!

Types of Child Custody

Legal custody over a child allows the parent who has it to make important decisions for a child. Such decisions can involve schooling, healthcare, or other welfare choices. Parents with joint legal custody aren’t expected to agree on every decision involving a child’s life, but it’s advised they work together as best as possible to avoid the courtroom over the issue.

Physical custody over a child determines with whom a child lives. Some might assume joint physical custody implies an even split of time spent between parents, but this is not always the case. Splitting a child’s time evenly between parents can be impractical due to work schedules, school hours, and other facets of everyday life.

When a parent has their children for less than half of the time, it’s legally deemed visitation. Visitation is ordered with a child’s best interest in mind – not yours or anyone else’s. Sometimes this means parents can work out reasonable, open-ended, and flexible visitation plans, or adhere to a set visitation schedule. Supervised visits with the other parent, another adult, or a representative of a third-party agency may be required. In cases where it’s judged that a parent is likely to have a physically or emotionally harmful impact upon their child, visitation can be revoked.

What Matters Most in a Child Custody Case

When it comes to giving someone custody of a child, judges are required to decide in the child’s best interest. What this means is that a judge can put your entire daily life under a microscope, so to speak, in order to determine how well your child will thrive in your care. This process can be frustrating or even anger-inducing, but that’s why it’s important to remain calm and let your lawyer guide you through the process. Do your best to appreciate that everything is happening for the benefit of your child, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

When judging child custody, a judge can consider the following:

  • Child’s age
  • Child’s health
  • Child’s relationship with each parent
  • Parents’ ability to care for the child
  • History of domestic violence or substance abuse
  • Child’s ties to his or her home, school, and community
  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child

Is a lawyer needed for child custody?

With so much at stake during a child custody case, it is crucial to have an attorney who is experienced with how the process works. In order to seek the best possible outcome for you and your child, you need to have an attorney who knows how the family court in Santa Barbara works and can carefully navigate obstacles with you. If you are fighting for custody of your child, you and your child need a seasoned attorney.

How is child custody determined?

There are a wide range of factors that the courts will consider when determining the outcome in any child custody case. The court will take factors into account such as each parents’ ability to care for the child, the parents' living situations, and any criminal history, as well as the health, safety, and welfare of the child.

After all factors have been considered, the court will decide physical custody, which determines who the child should live with, and legal custody, which determines who can legally make decisions for the child.

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