Custody and Visitation
Los Angeles lawyer Robert Gigliotti is well respected by judicial officers for his trial advocacy, competency, integrity and public service; and currently receiving appointments by the Los Angeles Superior Court as minor’s counsel in high conflict custody and visitation matters.
Overview of Custody Law in California
In California, when parents separate or divorce, a court will issue orders for custody and visitation arrangements based on what is in the best interest of the minor child. In general, the goal of a custody order is for both parents to maintain frequent and continuing contact with their child(ren).
The court may decide that parents should have joint custody, which means that the child will live with both parents almost equally according to a set schedule, or the court can order that one parent has sole custody, so that the child lives mostly with one parent, and that parent has responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child. In general, when there is a final custody order in place, the order can only be modified (changed) if there is a significant change of circumstances making a change in custody necessary for the child’s well-being.
The resolution of child custody and visitation disputes requires divorcing parents to act rationally in their child’s best interests at a time when they are facing the overwhelming stress of divorce. While some couples immediately reach an agreement on short- or long-term custody arrangements, others require court intervention for the intermediate or final decision.
With over twenty (20) years of experience, Los Angeles divorce lawyer Robert Gigliotti has the knowledge and experience in child custody law to guide you through the family law process in a child-centered manner, including the following stages:
Temporary Hearing – Pendente Lite Hearing
Shortly after the initial papers are filed seeking a divorce, upon motion file d by either parent, the family court will hold a temporary hearing (order to show cause) and issue an order that controls legal aspects of the parties’ relationship until it grants the final divorce decree. When custody is contested, the order creates a temporary custody solution. Unless there is evidence that doing so would not be in the best interests of the child, temporary custody is typically granted to the person who stays in the marital home. Depending on the circumstances, the temporary custody order may indicate which parent the court thinks is the more suitable for an award of permanent custody.
California requires that parties in contested custody litigation attempt mediation with a facilitator, a specially trained neutral third party in an attempt to resolve their disagreements.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding custody, most courts will order a custody evaluation prior to trial. A court-appointed mental health professional such as a psychologist or a social worker usually does the custody evaluation. Some courts appoint minor’s counsel to conduct the evaluation. Either way, the evaluation includes interviews with both parents and the children; observation of the children; conversations with teachers; and possible psychological testing of both parents and children. When a custody evaluation has been ordered, the court usually will not enter a final custody determination until the evaluation has been completed.
California decides contested custody cases based upon a determination of what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Considerations that go into a best interest determination may include review of the child’s age and attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker; parental physical and mental health; any history of domestic violence; and the child’s wishes, depending upon the age of the child and the motivation for the preference.
Representation/Finding the Right Attorney
Going through a divorce and custody dispute can be a critical time in your life. Therefore, it is important that you retain a family law attorney who will:
– Protect you, your children and your financial rights;
– Listen to your questions and provide answers;
– Guide you through the family court system;
– Ready, willing & able to litigate if and when required;
– Ready, willing & able to settle, if that is best for you;
– Place your interests, as my first priority;
– Offer High quality services, at a reasonable fee.
Los Angeles Lawyer Robert Gigliotti has developed a unique civil and family law practice located in Encino, California representing Southern California Clients in Family Law and Divorce, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury Law, and Estate Planning since 1991.
We solve difficult legal issues by thinking creatively, identifying the broadest array of potential solutions, translating client interests into positions, assessing both conventional and novel options, and building consensus around our clients interests.