Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson

247 N. Third Street, San Jose, CA 95112

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Child Custody Lawyer in San Jose CA

Cupertino child custody lawyer

Family Law Attorney for Child Custody Orders and Parenting Plans in Palo Alto, Campbell, and Santa Clara County

Child custody cases can become drawn-out, stressful battles and cause significant tension within families. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, we understand the numerous factors that can affect a child custody case. Unfortunately, it is often the children who are caught in the middle of a custody battle. Whether you are seeking custody of your children or would like to modify an existing custody order, contact our office today so we can focus on you and your children's best interests.

Child Custody in California

Child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities parents have regarding the care of their children. In California, parents can either share custody or one parent can have sole custody. There are two types of child custody—legal custody and physical custody:

  • Legal Custody. A parent who is granted legal custody can make significant decisions for the children such as their education, the religion they are to follow, and the hobbies and activities they are to pursue. Legal custody can be sole or joint. Sole legal custody refers to one parent having the right to make the significant decisions legal custody would entail. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having the right to making the important decisions together.
  • Physical Custody. When a parent is granted physical custody, it means that the child will live with that parent. Like legal custody, physical custody can also be sole or joint. When parents have joint physical custody, it means that the children will alternate living with both parents. When the children live with a parent for more than half of the time, that parent is then referred to as the primary custodial parent.

How California Courts Determine Child Custody Arrangements

If both parents agree on a custody arrangement, the court will most likely approve of the arrangement. If the parents do not agree, then the judge will decide on a custody arrangement based on the child's best interest. The court considers the following when determining a child custody arrangement:

  • Family Code section 3040(1): The court will be more likely to grant custody to the parent who is likely to permit the child(ren) regular and ongoing contact with the noncustodial parent (the parent who is not granted custody).
  • Family Code section 3042: If the child is 14 years or older and is mentally capable, the court may give some preference in grant custody to the parent the child wishes to be the custodial parent.
  • Family Code section 3041.5: The court will consider each parent's history of substance abuse. If the court believes—based upon evidence—that a parent who is seeking custody has consistently abused drugs or alcohol in the past, the court may order the parent to undergo a substance abuse test. A positive result for the test does not necessarily mean the court will deny that parent custody.

When determining what the child's best interests are regarding a custody arrangement, the court will also consider the emotional relationship between the child and each parent, the ability of each parent to properly take care of the child, and the child's connections to his or her neighborhood, school, and home.

Family Code section 3044: Domestic Violence and Child Custody

Family court will evaluate each parent's history of abuse and domestic violence. If a parent was convicted of, or even charged with, domestic violence that was allegedly committed against the other parent, against the children that parent wishes to gain custody of, or against the children's siblings within the past five years of pursuing custody, the court may find that there is a rebuttable presumption that granting custody to the convicted parent is against the child or children's best interests. However, that presumption may be discredited if the parent successfully completed a batterer's treatment program, alcohol or drug abuse counseling, or a parenting class. The presumption may also be refuted if the parent did not commit any other acts of domestic violence, if the parent followed his or her parole (if applicable), and if the parent complied with any restraining order that was issued against him or her.

A domestic violence conviction can significantly hurt your chances of being awarded child custody. Even visits or contact with your children may be supervised by a neutral third party if you are convicted of domestic violence. Attorney Erik Johnson's strong experience in criminal law gives him the unique ability to refute the presumption that you are an unfit parent. His unique skill set of criminal litigator and family lawyer can help you retain custody of your children.

Compassionate Child Custody Lawyer in Saratoga CA

Attorney Erik Johnson's significant practice in both criminal and family law gives him the unique ability to successfully represent you in your child custody case at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. Call the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson at 408-246-3004, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in San Jose, Santa Clara County, San Francisco, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Milpitas, and Campbell.

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