Dealing with child custody and child support disputes is among the most emotionally-charged issues that parents and guardians face. California courts prioritize the best interest of the child, but the process can be draining. Parents and guardians who want to avoid the emotional turmoil for themselves and their children turn to experienced family law attorneys who can advocate for them with regard to custody and dispute issues. When it comes to child support, California, like most other states, has a specific formula to calculate child support based on income. Yet, sometimes changes need to occur after the amount has been set.
If you are involved in a child custody and/or child support issue area in Southern California, contact The Law Offices of Susan J. Wolf to discuss your options and the best course of action for you and your children. Below we offer more information about custody and support issues in California, specifically focusing on the types of situations that require legal representation.
Child Custody Representation
In amicable divorces, child custody issues aren’t contentious and parents often come to a mutual agreement. Other child custody issues lead to arguments and hostile situations that require going to court. Regardless of your circumstances, hiring a child custody lawyer to represent you can help the process go more smoothly and more quickly, which allows you to create a sense of normalcy and security for your children. Examples of common scenarios that often require the expertise of a lawyer:
The Other Parent Has an Attorney
If you are going through a divorce and the other parent has hired a lawyer, you need representation to make sure your voice is heard. The same applies to parents who aren’t married and want to sue for custody. Not hiring an attorney when the other parent has one puts you at a disadvantage.
A Desired Change in Custodial Rights
Once a custody order is in place, one parent might want to make changes. This can include anything from changing visitation rights, deciding to share or not to share physical custody. In California, two types of custody exist:
- Legal custody refers to the person who makes life decisions for your child about things like school and healthcare.
- Physical custody refers to the person with whom your child lives.
Custody agreements address both types of custody, which can fall on one parent or can be shared. This makes for several combinations that one parent might want to change for a variety of reasons. Regardless of whether you or the other parent wants the change, it’s in your best interest to seek out counsel who can fight for you or defend you.
After a divorce or split, people sometimes move to different jurisdictions by choice. In other cases, jobs can force one to change locales. For some families, separating children from one parent, especially if it’s far away, creates a massive dispute that requires going to trial with a lawyer.
Child Safety Concerns
If you have concerns about your child’s safety, the law does not allow you to act on your own and keep your child from the other parent. The best way to protect your child from abuse or neglect is to immediately contact an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible who can help you get full custody and supervised visitation. If your child is in immediate danger, call 911 and file a police report and report the other parent to Child Protective Services (CPS). Your lawyer can help you fight for full custody or change visitation.
The Other Parent Is Blocking Visitation
If you have a custody agreement that provides you with visitation, you have the right to spend time with your children according to the stipulations of the agreement. Some parents block visitation out of spite or for non-payment of child support. Custody and support are two separate issues, and we can help you with both.
Child Support Issues Requiring a Lawyer
Child support plays a valuable role in providing your children with the things they need. In divorce proceedings or initial support orders for unmarried couples, figuring the amount of child support is straightforward under California law. Yet, actually getting support can be challenging, and sometimes changes must occur. Some examples of common scenarios where hiring an attorney can help include:
Filing for Child Support
In some cases, the payer tries to dispute the amount of required support based on your financial obligations and income and theirs. When you hire a child support attorney you ensure your children get the support they need. If you are the payer, a lawyer can ensure that your financials are accurately represented in court.
Child Support Modifications
Changes in income, retirement, illness, and many other life circumstances warrant a child support modification. In cases where the payer is hiding income, a lawyer can help increase support and force transparency. A payer who comes upon hard times can hire an attorney to help them get temporary relief so they don’t fall behind on payments.
Child Support Enforcement
Unfortunately, some payers don’t follow through with support orders, or they simply quit paying support when they have financial struggles. In other cases, fathers deny paternity, so they do not have to pay support. A lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to enforce your child support order and establish paternity, if applicable.
Get the Legal Help You Need with Your Custody and Support Dispute
Whether parent, guardian or another family member, you view the children in your life as a precious gift and you want to do the best you can for them. At The Law Offices of Susan J. Wolf, we approach each custody and support case as if we were helping a member of our own family or fighting for our own children. We understand the gravity of issues related to custody and support, and we are here to help you through the legal process. Contact us today at (818) 992-1182 or (760) 285-8225 for a free consultation to discuss your specific custody and support issues and find the best way forward for your situation.