California Child Custody after Divorce

Child Custody Lawyers in Laguna Hills, CA

child custody lawyers laguna hills california

Most parents in Laguna Hills, as well as in the rest of the state and country, say that child custody and visitation are the most crucial issues in their family law cases. At least 28% of all children under the age of 21 in households lived with just one parent, while the other parent was abroad, according to’s current 2013 statistics. Child custody lawyers at Trevino Law have significant expertise negotiating and litigating all elements of parental rights. Your child’s custody case deserves their assistance. 

  • Legal Concerns of Child Custody in CA
  • Mediation Process for Child Custody in CA
  • It is in your best interest to work with our Laguna Hills child custody lawyers!

You may send us a message by filling out the form or calling us if you need a cost estimate for your divorce case in California.


Legal Concerns of Child Custody in CA


When it comes to the health, safety, education, and welfare of a minor child, legal custody is an important consideration. This implies that both parents have equal authority to make these choices (Family Code 3003). Having sole legal custody of a child implies that only one parent has the authority to make all legal custody decisions. Even when the parents have shared legal custody, the court has the authority to provide one parent the authority to make final decisions if the other parent disagrees. Legal custody is often shared between parents in the event of divorce or marriage.


If parents cannot agree on a custody agreement for their child, what happens?


The family court expects parents who have shared legal custody to work together and collaborate in the best interests of their children when there is an order of joint legal custody. There are instances when things aren’t as straightforward as they seem. There are many instances when parents are unable to come to an agreement on what is best for their child, resulting in a dispute. Here are some of the most common disagreements between parents in Laguna Hills, CA child custody cases:

  • Where the child will go to school.

In most cases, divorcing parents prefer that their children attend a school in the same town as where they now live. However, not all “custodial” parents’ districts allow their children to enroll in their schools. We’ve handled cases where the non-custodial parent was awarded exclusive legal custody of a child.

  • Religious upbringing.

It is possible for a couple to have differing religious beliefs. Determining whether or not to instill a religious belief system in a child may be a difficult topic.

  • Medical treatment options.

Parents often disagree over what medications their child should take, which doctor to see, whether or not a specialist is needed, and a host of other issues. A parent’s obligation to pay child support will increase if these medical expenses are included.

  • Measures for ensuring the safety of children

The age at which children should be left alone at home, in a car seat, or any number of other logistical considerations.

If the parties are unable to agree on any of the decisions regarding a child’s legal custody, the Court has the authority to:

  • Allow one parent to have exclusive custody of the child for all concerns.
  • One or more particular concerns, such as schooling, may be granted exclusive legal custody by a court.
  • Occasionally, the court will allow a single parent to make a judgment on a specific problem, but that parent must tell the other parent of that choice.


Is it okay if one parent decides on behalf of their child in a way that neither of them has approved?


An uninformed parent’s actions may have an adverse effect on the parent’s future legal and/or physical custody rights when it comes to the health, safety, welfare, education, and religion of their child. A parent who makes decisions about their child’s upbringing without consulting the other parent is treated by the court unfavorably, and may be punishable by contempt of court. You might be surprised to learn how common this practice is when you consider the potential consequences described. To ensure that a child receives equal attention from both parents, the law encourages this. If two parents are separated, the judge in the family court must make custody decisions based on the best interests of their children. As a result, if one parent deviates from the parenting plan, the court may have to revise the physical custody orders.

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Need help regarding child/spousal support, custody dispute, restraining order, property divisions, or family business? Our Laguna Hills family law and estate planning attorneys will help secure your future!

Mediation Process for Child Custody in CA


You must file a Request for Order (RFO) with the Family Court to acquire custody and visitation. After receiving a petition, Family Court Services will arrange a mediation. Certified mediators meet with both parents to discuss child custody and visitation. If mediation is not effective, parents take their case to court.

As a non-recommending county, OCFCS does not offer formal recommendations to the court on child-sharing arrangements. Instead of employing Family Court Services mediation, parents might engage a private mediator. The private mediator might recommend another party or not. The court would then examine the parties’ agreements and differences, as well as any other relevant factors, while deciding custody and visitation.


Custody & Psychological Evaluations


Sometimes, a court may require that a custody and/or psychiatric examination be done (Family Code 3010-3011 and Evid. Code 730). The purpose and scope of the evaluation, as well as the manner in which the evaluation is conducted and which party or parties are responsible for the costs associated with the evaluation, must be specified by the court in any custody evaluation psychological evaluation (Marriage of Seagondollar; Cal. Rules of Court 5.220). Having a custody assessment done is highly suggested if you find yourself in such situation.


Role of Parental Alienation in Child Custody


In custody battles, parents frequently allege that the other parent is “alienating” the child from that parent, thereby restricting the interaction between the parents. It’s a regular complaint in family court cases, and custody battles are no exception. Psychologists and the courts may refer to “parental alienation” in somewhat different ways, but the idea is well-known and taken into account by the courts. Isolating your child from you because of the behavior of the other parent is never a good idea. The good news is that you have a slew of choices:

  • First and foremost, seek professional help for the child. As a last resort, if the opposing party does not agree, you may file a move in court and explain your position to the judge. Give instances that are specific.
  • Second, you may petition the court for a change in custody, so that the child would be under your exclusive control.
  • It’s also possible to petition the court for a Family Code 3111 assessment (commonly known as a “730 Eval”), in which a competent child psychologist will undertake an investigation and report to the court on their findings.

It is in your best interest to work with our Laguna Hills child custody lawyers!


If you need help resolving a child custody or visitation dispute, contact Trevino Law, a family law firm in Laguna Hills, California. If you have a child custody dispute, our Laguna Hills child custody lawyers will take the time to listen to your concerns, educate you on relevant case law, and assist you in making informed decisions. When it comes to divorce and child custody matters, our California law firm can help you in private mediation, hearings, and trials.

For an initial consultation, please fill out our online form or call our Laguna Hills office.

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