Child Custody


Child Custody in California

The California Family Code governs child custody issues in California Family Court. The court’s main concern in child custody matters is the best interests of the children involved. Parents are entitled to frequent and continuing contact with the involved children except in limited circumstances. You may have to attend mediation with the other parent before the court will make a custody determination. It is advisable to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced child custody attorney before proceeding with your child custody matter.

Custody and Visitation

The difference between custody and visitation is the amount of time that each child spends with a parent. If a child will spend more than 50% of the time with one parent, that parent is considered the custodial parent. The other parent will be entitled to visitation except in limited circumstances. You may be able to come to an agreement with the other parent and develop a parenting plan to avoid a court determination of custody.  It is imperative that you seek the advice and counsel of a child custody attorney before proceeding with a child custody action to ensure that your rights are protected and preserved.

Child Custody Mediation

The court may require you to participate in custody mediation with the other parent. Child custody mediation gives parents the opportunity to resolve parenting plan disagreements. The mediator will attempt to assist the parties in coming to an agreed upon parenting plan. In some California counties, the mediator gives a written recommendation to the parents and court if an agreement is not reached during mediation. It is in your best interest to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced child custody attorney to discuss mediation and how your rights may be affected.

Modification of a Child Custody Order

Situations change that can impact current child custody arrangements. If there has been a change of circumstances since the most recent custody order, you may petition the court for a modification of the custody order. The change in circumstances must be significant and the change must be in the best interest of the children. If your situation has changed and you are considering a modification of the current custody order, contact a knowledgeable child custody attorney at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin today.

Grandparent Visitation Rights

If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights with your grandchildren, you may have legal options. Under California law, a grandparent can petition the family court for a visitation order. In granting a grandparent visitation order, the court must find that there was a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild and visitation would be in the best interests of the children.

The court will balance the interests of the child visiting the grandparent and the interests of the parents in making parenting decisions concerning their child. To determine if petitioning the court for visitation is in your best interest, contact a child custody attorney at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin.

Our Firm’s Child Custody Practice

Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin has knowledgeable and practical experience in resolving child custody issues. Our child custody attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf. We will strive to achieve the results that you desire. It is our goals to protect and preserve your right to see your children.


Call Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin when you need sound legal advice from a knowledgeable child custody attorney. To speak with a child custody attorney about your particular circumstances, call our child custody lawyers at (209) 522-2211 or contact us here.