Reliable Child Custody Attorneys in Vallejo Protect Your Parental Rights

Skilled negotiation of parenting plans throughout the North Bay

When you are a parent, your relationship with your children is one of your foremost concerns in life. If a child custody dispute arises due to divorce or a paternity action, you want legal representation that inspires confidence. At Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC, we are committed to providing excellent representation, starting with close, personal attention to your most urgent concerns. Since 1973, we have built an enviable reputation for highly professional and ethical legal service. Our family law attorneys work closely with parents to create parenting plans that suit their specific circumstances. When it is necessary to litigate a custody dispute, we assert your rights aggressively with robust support from our accomplished civil litigation division.

Child custody and parenting time in Vallejo, CA

When deciding on child custody and parenting time, the overriding consideration for the court is the best interest of the child. The court is flexible with respect to custody arrangements when both parents are responsible and engaged in the child’s life. Here are some of the family law terms you need to understand as you consider the best arrangement for you and your children:

  • Physical custody — The parent with whom the children live is said to have physical custody. The court can award physical custody to one parent (sole) or in intervals to both parents (joint or shared). Joint physical custody does not have to be a strict 50-50 timeshare. Physical custody depends on several factors, but most importantly on the ability of the parent to provide an appropriate residence and act as a primary caretaker.
  • Legal custody — The authority to make major decisions affecting the child’s health, education, and welfare is legal custody. Legal custody can be joint or sole. When parents have joint legal custody, their custody order may include a mechanism for resolving serious disputes, either through mediation or arbitration. Even when one parent has sole physical custody, the parents can share legal custody. It is rare for parents to share physical custody when one has sole legal custody, although such an arrangement can be appropriate when a child has special needs and one parent has specialized knowledge of the condition.
  • Split custody — This is a rare arrangement where physical and/or legal custody of siblings is divided between the parents so that, for example, a son would live with the father and a daughter with the mother.
  • Parenting time — When one parent has sole physical custody of the children, the noncustodial parent is usually allowed parenting time, formerly called visitation. There is a presumption that frequent, meaningful contact between the noncustodial parent and the children is in the children’s best interest. However, if questions arise as to the fitness of the noncustodial parent, the court can restrict parenting time to supervised visits, where a court-appointed professional monitors the interactions, or the court can deny parenting time altogether.

Most parents take a realistic approach to child custody, understanding that the children love their parents equally. This makes it relatively easy to negotiate a custody settlement to present to the court for approval. However, some parents have honest disagreements that are not easily settled, and others can’t refrain from using a custody dispute to hurt the other parent. During a nasty divorce, some parents even stoop to making specious allegations of physical and sexual abuse. This tactic can backfire badly, since one of the factors the court weighs in making a custody decision is the extent to which one parent is supportive of the children having a positive relationship with the other parent.

On the other hand, some parents are rightly concerned about the danger to their children of any association with the other parent. In such cases, we do everything possible to protect your children by bringing all pertinent facts to the attention of the court.

Contact our family law attorneys in Vallejo for your child custody dispute

Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC provides personal attention and robust litigation services for child custody disputes in the North Bay. In every case, we strive to provide our clients with the highest levels of personal attention and professionalism. To learn more, call us today at 707-674-6057 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.