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San Diego Child Custody Lawyer

Advocating for Your Child's Best Interests in San Diego

One of the most contested and sensitive issues in divorce cases we deal with is that of child custody. Dealing with divorce is difficult enough, but having to explain to your child that their living situation will be changed can be very hard on everyone involved.

Our experienced child custody lawyer in San Diego can provide you with the emotional support and representation you need on your side. At Gordon D. Cruse, APLC, we understand all of the various factors which can affect child custody and child support decisions.

If you're looking to hire an experienced San Diego child custody attorney, call (619) 431-4523 or contact us online to learn how we can help you protect your parental rights today.

Understanding Child Custody Types in California

The first step is to decide who will have primary physical custody and who will be responsible for legal decisions. There are multiples types of custody options in CA, including:

  • Sole legal custody: When one parent has the right to make all major decisions regarding a child's health, education, and lifestyle issues.
  • Joint legal custody: When both parents must make decisions together on the child's upbringing
  • Sole physical custody: The child lives with one parent while the other parent will usually have visitation time
  • Joint physical custody: The child divides time living with both parents throughout the year.

Joint Custody Arrangements in California Explained

When it comes to child custody in California, one option that parents may consider is joint custody. Joint custody involves both parents sharing the responsibilities and decision-making for their child. This can be joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or a combination of both.

In joint legal custody, both parents have the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Joint physical custody, on the other hand, means that the child spends significant time living with both parents.

It's important to understand the nuances of joint custody and how it may apply to your specific situation. Our experienced San Diego child custody lawyers can provide guidance and legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of joint custody and work towards a custody arrangement that serves the best interests of your child.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing for Child Custody in San Diego

You must fill out the necessary child custody forms that are required for all California courts (found here) and pay a filing fee. All child custody cases must be filed with the San Diego County Superior Court. Depending on which part of San Diego County you live in, there are four courthouse location options: San Diego, El Cajon, Vista, and Chula Vista. There can be numerous complicated questions and processes when filing for child custody in San Diego County.

Let Attorney Cruse help guide you through the steps to ensure that no mistakes are made when it comes to your children's future.

Factors Influencing Child Custody Decisions in San Diego

California courts decide child custody arrangements based on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The age of the children
  • The preference of the children
  • Each parent's relationship with the children
  • The parents' financial situations
  • The parenting abilities of each party
  • Willingness of each parent to cooperate

Judges prefer arrangements that can provide a stable and healthy environment for the child. If you are constantly moving or have not established a strong bond with your child, show that you are actively participating in your child's life and are interested in developing a strong relationship with them.

Defining the "Best Interest" of a Child in Custody Cases

The court makes decisions based on the child's best interest, but what does that really mean? Below are some factors the judge will consider when determining child custody.

The best interest of a child is based on some of the following:

  • If the parent will maintain the health and safety of the child

  • If there is a history of abuse between either parent and the child

  • The parent’s mental health or psychological health

  • How often the child will have contact with both parents

  • How a parent uses alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances

Alternatives to Court in San Diego Child Custody Disputes

No, you are not legally required to go to a San Diego family law court for child custody. It is, however, very common for divorcing parents to find themselves there because they cannot agree on the terms of the arrangement.

While it is always better to make decisions between you and your spouse outside of court to avoid putting the choice in the judge's hands, this is not always possible. If you and your spouse cannot make a decision, you will need a San Diego family law attorney that has experience handling contested child custody cases to represent you in court. This is often the best way to ensure your child's best interest is protected, as well as your parental rights.

Secure Your Child Custody Rights with a San Diego Lawyer

Our San Diego child custody attorney understands how much is at stake. We are here to fight for your right to have custody over your children and to help determine fathers' rights.

If you are planning on moving after divorce—such as out of state—an attorney is all the more important. We will help you navigate child custody and relocation. Our legal team can also help with San Diego child support issues and other related issues, such as visitation rights.

No matter how complex your case is, we want to help!

Call our child custody lawyer in San Diego now at (619) 431-4523 to learn how we can help and to make an appointment for a consultation.


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