Anaheim Child Custody & Visitation Lawyer

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Anaheim Child Custody & Visitation Lawyer

Child Custody & Visitation Attorney in Anaheim, CA

Some of the most emotionally stressful cases anyone can endure in the Anaheim court system are child custody and visitation disputes. Divorcing parents who must resolve custody of their children and unmarried parents who decide to raise their children separately must secure legally enforceable custody orders. Whatever your reasons may be for entering the Anaheim court system, it’s vital to have experienced legal counsel you can trust for any custody or visitation dispute.

Attorney Beverly D. Moranda and her team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, provide the small firm attention you expect with the big firm advocacy you need to navigate your custody or visitation case effectively. Since Moranda Law Firm, APC, limits its practice exclusively to family law, you can expect specialized legal advice for your situation.

We have successfully represented many parents in difficult custody and visitation disputes, as part of larger divorce cases and as standalone family court cases. Whatever your situation entails, you need knowledgeable legal representation to navigate this type of difficult case as efficiently as possible.

We understand that every custody case requires individualized care. We approach each case with an understanding of its own unique challenges. Let us help you understand the process, know your rights, and zealously advocate for your interests in your custodial dispute.

Whether you are divorcing and negotiating custody or an unmarried parent seeking help with a legal custody order, our firm has the experience and compassion to get you the best possible result.

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Why Do I Need an Anaheim Child Custody Lawyer?

Family law cases present difficult legal issues. This is especially true for custody and visitation disputes, which often have an inherently emotional component. It is easy to become overwhelmed and react emotionally, rather than rationally, which can adversely affect your case and the life of your children.

An experienced Anaheim child custody lawyer can ensure you understand your rights and obligations, the risks and implications of any particular decision you face, and guide you in making rational decisions as it pertains to litigation or settlement of custodial disputes.

It can be incredibly distressing for any parent to confront the idea of losing time with their children. The outcome of a custody dispute can affect the rest of your life and that of your children. Representing yourself in a custodial dispute could exacerbate an already difficult situation and have dire consequences for years to come.

Working with an experienced Anaheim child custody attorney lets you approach this difficult situation with more peace of mind. Understanding your legal rights and obligations, the process, and the various options available to you to resolve custodial disputes can minimize stress, anxiety, and fear. It is also imperative to a successful outcome.

The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, has a wide range of experience with various custody and visitation disputes in Anaheim, CA. It is through this experience that we recognize that every situation is unique. We provide an individualized approach to every single case based on the facts, a client’s goal, and the unique legal issues or challenges presented in a particular situation.

Child Custody Determinations

The California Family Code makes clear that custodial determinations are made in accordance with the best interests of the children. While the Court may consider any relevant factors when determining a child’s best interests, there are also certain factors that a court is required to consider, such as the child’s health, safety, or welfare, a history of domestic violence, the child’s interest in stability and continuity, and depending on the child’s age, a child’s wishes. Many child custody determinations are components of an underlying divorce case.

When parents divorce, they must resolve the custody of their children, typically amongst various other things. Custody, however, is often the most difficult aspect of the entire divorce case. The court reviews various factors to determine which custodial orders are in the best interest of the child or children involved in the case.

Moranda Law Firm, APC, can not only assist you in reaching a fair settlement regarding the custody of your children but will also zealously and intelligently litigate our custody case when a fair settlement isn’t possible.

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Child Visitation

In some cases, one parent will become the sole physical custodian of their children and the other parent will receive visitation rights. In other cases, parents will share physical custody of the children, but one parent may have more time with the children than the other parent. In these situations and others, the non-custodial parent is entitled to visitation with the child, and in a small subset of cases, a court may order that a parent be allowed no visitation with the children. How much visitation and the parameters of same, vary on a case-by-case basis.

Properly drafted parenting plans and/or visitation orders help avoid conflict and minimize confusion. They can be ordered by the court after a hearing, or they can be agreed upon by the parties and submitted to the court for judicial approval as court orders. Our team can help you negotiate or litigate for a visitation order that truly suits your child’s best interests and assist you should your child’s other parent prevent you from exercising your visitation rights.

 

Complex Child Custody Disputes

Some child custody cases are more complex than others. Cases involving children with special needs, a history of domestic violence, child neglect, substance or alcohol abuse, a narcissistic parent, parent alienation, allegations of sexual abuse, and/or move-away/relocation are inherently more complex and require specialized care.

In such cases, you need an expert in your corner who understands the nuances of the law and the importance of potentially involving other professionals, including but not limited to psychologists, child custody evaluation experts, and/or medical experts, depending on the facts of your case. The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, has extensive experience handling difficult custody disputes on behalf of clients throughoutAnaheim and Southern California. We apply this experience to every single case.

Child Custody and Visitation Modifications

While child custody and visitation orders are modifiable, understanding the different standards of modification that apply in your particular case is essential to your success. Generally speaking, temporary custody and visitation orders are modifiable provided the Court determines modification is in the child’s best interest.

However, if your custody order is considered a “final judicial custody determination” the parent requesting to modify the custody order will be required to show a “significant change of circumstances” before the court can even begin the best interest analysis. Failing to understand what is and what is not a “final custody determination” and/or failing to properly advocate that in Court can prove fatal to your custody case, as can failing to address the facts and circumstances relevant to a “best interest” or “substantial change of circumstances” analysis.

There are many types of custody orders that are not considered “final judicial custody determinations.” Whether you are petitioning the court for modification or opposing the other parent’s request, understanding the nuances in the law and evaluating the nature of the custody order sought to be modified are critical to your success.

Is the custody order sought to be modified the result of an agreement rather than judicial determination? If so, it is imperative to scrutinize the language of the agreement. Is a parent seeking to modify a timeshare arrangement rather than a custody order? If so, the “significant change of circumstances” requirement may not apply.

Whether you are requesting or opposing a request for modification of custody and/or visitation orders, our law firm has the knowledge and expertise to help you understand and navigate the modification process. We will guide you, advise you, and zealously advocate for your interests.

Child Custody Evaluations

A judge can order a custody evaluation at the request of either party or sua sponte. Custody evaluations are more frequently ordered in high conflict parenting cases, relocation cases, and cases involving domestic violence and/or mental health issues, but they can also be ordered when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan.

A child custody investigation is an in depth, structured investigation of the family by a mental health professional. The child custody evaluator is usually appointed as the Court’s expert pursuant to Evidence Code §730 or Evidence Code §3111. During the investigation, the investigator will interview the parents, the children depending on their age, and various other collaterals depending on the case and type of investigation.

The investigator also gathers information from various different sources, reviews documents and, amongst other things, provides a written report about the parents and children and makes a recommendation for custody orders and a parenting plan.

Many Judges heavily rely on the evaluator’s opinions and recommendations. However, this does not mean that the evaluator’s recommendations cannot be modified or rejected by the judge, but this usually requires a trial and skilled trial counsel.

If you have been ordered to participate in a child custody investigation or if you would like such an investigation ordered in your case, it is imperative to retain and work closely with skilled counsel every step of the way. The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, can help you prepare for your custody investigation and approach the situation with confidence.

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Parent Relocations

Some of the most contentious custody and visitation disputes revolve around relocation. When a parent wants to relocate, they typically wish to do so with their child. If the other parent does not agree with the relocation, typically one of the parents will need to petition the court to request an order allowing for relocation of the child or an order enjoining the child’s relocation.

However, the laws governing parental custody and visitation rights in relocation/move-away cases are nuanced and complex. Therefore, it is imperative to have the assistance of knowledgeable and experienced counsel if you a repetitioning the Court to relocate with your child or if you have received notice of request or intention to relocate from the other parent.

While California Family Code §7501 gives “a parent entitled to the custody of a child” a presumptive right to relocate, that right is not absolute as the court may “restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child.”

Further, being awarded sole custody pursuant to the terms of a custody order does not necessarily mean a parent has a presumptive right to relocate. Understanding the nature of the custody order if one has been made, the standard the court must apply in ruling on the request to relocate, which parent bears the burden of persuasion, and the facts and circumstances a court must consider in assessing a child’s best interest in relocation cases is essential to every move-away case.

Whether you desire to relocate with your child, or prevent there location of your child, the team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, can help.

Fathers’ Rights

While the family court system has come a long way and Judges are strictly prohibited from considering gender in making custody determination pursuant to the California Family Code, many fathers still face an uphill battle when seeking sole custody or equal parenting time with their children.

For a father to exert his rights, paternity must be established. If you are a father and did not sign your child’s birth certificate when they were born, you may need to establish paternity through the court system. This can give you the legal right to spend time with your child or to be involved in their life. Otherwise, the court cannot grant you a claim to the child.

The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, understands the important role fathers play in the lives of their children. We have successfully represented many fathers who sought and obtained custody of their children.

We understand the importance of understanding the specific facts of every case and of properly bringing the legally relevant facts to the Court for consideration. We are zealous in our representation and take pride in the work we undertake for deserving fathers.

Restraining Orders and Custody

Issuance of a domestic violence restraining order can have serious adverse consequences for custodial and non-custodial parents alike. Once a court makes a finding that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence in the previous five years, Family Code §3044 gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to said perpetrator of domestic violence is detrimental to the child’s best interest.

The perpetrator of domestic violence bears the burden of overcoming this presumption and must present admissible evidence of the very specific factors which the court must consider in order to overcome this request. This presumption may only be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. This presumption can affect custody and visitation orders when the initial restraining order is granted and when a parent seeks to modify a custody and visitation order after a finding of domestic violence has been made.

Unfortunately, because domestic violence restraining orders are incredibly powerful and likely to have a significant impact on custody litigation, they are often misused by toxic or resentful parents to gain an unfair strategic advantage in the litigation.

Whether you are a victim of domestic violence seeking a custody order to ensure your child’s safety or a parent falsely accused of domestic violence, having a knowledgeable attorney with a record of success in these matters is vital to your own success and the well-being of your children. The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, is knowledgeable, zealous, experienced, and ready to help.

FAQs About Anaheim, CA Child Custody & Visitation Laws

How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost in California?

Unlike many other types of law, a significant portion of child custody attorneys charge a flat rate for their services. Usually, this rate is between $3,000 and $20,000. However, this is not the case for all lawyers. Many child custody and visitation attorneys charge hourly instead, so it is essential that you discuss rates with every attorney that you interview. Clear communication surrounding finances can help you stay within your budget.

What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases in California?

Judges look at what is best for the child or children involved, as child safety is the top priority. To ensure the children’s safety, judges look at each parent’s:

  • Housing situation
  • Income
  • Relationship with the child
  • Relationship with drugs and alcohol
  • Social habits
  • Schedule and available time to spend with the children
  • Criminal history

The judge will look at the entire situation to determine whether a parent is a safe guardian for the child or children at hand.

How Can I Fight a Full Custody Decision in California?

If your child’s other parent has received full custody, you can work with an attorney to find out the court’s reasoning for this decision. Usually, judges do not grant full custody unless one parent is unfit or unable to parent their children. However, making changes in your life may persuade the court to give you access to visitation or partial custody through a modification later. An appeal may also be appropriate in some scenarios.

What Is Visitation?

Visitation is a type of child custody agreement in which one parent gets the majority of custody. However, the other parent has the legal right to spend time with the child for a certain number of hours per month. This visitation time may be for an afternoon, but it can also be a sleepover in some situations. Without visitation or custody rights, a parent does not have the legal right to see their child; any visits would be at the custodial parent’s discretion.

What Are the Types of Custody?

Custody can be split into two categories: physical and legal. Physical custody involves housing, feeding, and caring for the child on a regular basis. This is what most people think of when they think of custody. Legal custody is the authority to make medical and other major decisions on behalf of a child. It is possible to have physical custody without legal custody, but it is rare to have legal custody without having physical custody. Many parents have both.

Dedicated Child Custody Attorneys in Anaheim: Moranda Law Firm, APC.

Custody and visitation disputes are emotionally charged and take many forms. The best approach and/or strategy differs significantly based on a parent’s needs, goals, and facts of a particular case. The team at Moranda Law Firm, APC, understands that every case is unique. We pride ourselves in approaching each case with the specificity, care, and dedication it deserves.

If you are facing a custody or visitation dispute, you need knowledgeable, experienced, and zealous legal representation you can trust. Moranda Law Firm, APC, is ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable Anaheim child custody attorney and learn more about our legal services.

Practice Areas

Divorce
Cases
Child Custody
& Visitation
Child
Support
Domestic
Violence
Fathers’ Rights
Paternity
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