Finding an Experienced Attorney You Can Trust
The Law Office of Benjamin R. Greene & Associates provides experienced family law representation for clients in Bakersfield, Delano, California and throughout Kern County. Our attorneys have extensive family law expertise for clients involved in divorce proceedings as well as other aspects of family law, including custody disputes, visitation rights, child and spousal support, and paternity claims.
Seek a knowledgeable child custody lawyer
Child custody involves either physical custody or legal custody, which is the authority to make decisions regarding the child. In both legal and physical custody decisions, the court typically presumes that joint custody is optimal. Factors such as the age, gender, and any history of abuse can overcome this presumption and result in sole or primary custody. A child custody attorney in the Delano area can explain that even in the case of primary custody, the other parent will usually have visitation rights.
Child Custody & visitation
Since many cases involve some custody or visitation sharing, both parents must avoid unclear agreement terms by seeking experienced family law attorneys to draft a detailed agreement in advance. Even joint custody arrangements rarely involve an exact, equal division of time. Supervised visitation may be arranged when necessary to protect the child’s safety and well-being. If the court decides that supervised visitation would still potentially harm the child physically or emotionally, even visitation rights can be denied.
Like most states, California follows the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which governs state courts’ abilities to make, modify, and enforce child custody and visitation orders. This most often comes into play when a child shares time with both parents, but one parent has moved to a different state. An experienced Bakersfield or Delano divorce lawyer can help you petition to modify another state’s orders if the other parent fails to meet the UCCJEA “home state” requirements. A child custody lawyer serving clients in Delano can help parents in divorce proceedings secure adequate custody and visitation periods, ensuring they are an active participant in their child’s upbringing.
Support and paternity
Child support may be the responsibility of one parent or both. A court’s support orders generally last until the child turns 18, but can last longer if the child is still in school or is disabled and not self-supporting. The amount of child support to be paid is determined by California’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) according to a formula based on a number of factors, including earning capacity, the number of children, and expenses such as medical care.
DCSS oversees a network of local agencies in Kern County to ensure that families are receiving court-ordered support. A child support order can be modified based on changed circumstances, for example if a parent is facing new financial hardship. Parents who fail to support a minor child without good reason may be subject to criminal penalties. If you fall behind on your support payments, a court may hold you in contempt or order a portion of your wages to be automatically set aside for support.
Paternity claims seek to establish a father’s biological relationship, which then allows court-ordered parental rights, responsibilities, child support obligations, and custody and visitation arrangements. Due to the complicated nature of paternity procedures, you should hire a skilled child custody lawyer in Bakersfield or the surrounding area. When a couple is not married at the time a child is born, the paternity of the child may not be certain. If paternity is disputed by the alleged father, a court may order genetic testing. Once paternity is established, a court can then make orders regarding custody, visitation, and support.
Experienced family lawyers
Family law disputes involving children can be emotionally charged and financially draining, requiring an experienced attorney to provide detailed advice, manage negotiations, and ensure cost-effective solutions. Along with their extensive family law experience, our Bakersfield child custody attorneys understand the importance of protecting the children involved in these disputes and allowing families to restore stability beyond the courtroom.