Children’s Law Attorneys in Ventura, California
Children’s law refers to the meeting point in family law of various regulations and principles that focus on the well-being of involved children. Children’s courts tackle a range of subjects, ranging from dependency to adoption cases. Fortunately, this court is not known by many because many children’s law investigations never proceed to a judge. If you are currently involved with an issue concerning children’s law, however, it’s a good idea to speak with a family law attorney before taking any action.
A skilled family law attorney will fight for your right as a parent. The best lawyers will also explain your side without weakening the outcome of the case.
Children’s Preferences in California Family Law Cases
In California, children have a degree of influence over how custody arrangements are shaped. If children have reached “the age of discretion”, a family law judge may very well consider the child’s opinion when resolving a family law issue. California family law courts view children as capable of making rational decisions. A child’s maturity level, however, can also impact the weight that a child’s choice is given.
Legitimate reasons exist why a child might prefer one household or one parent over another. Some of the reasons that children might give include remaining at a good school, continuing to live in their childhood homes, or residing close to friends or relatives. A child’s needs and preferences, however, often change as time passes. A child’s changing preferences might end up necessitating a modification of custody or visitation schedules.
Testimony by Children in California Family Law Cases
For a child’s preference to end up influencing custody decisions, the child’s perspective must be heard by family law court. If a judge determines that a child can provide testimony and will not be overwhelmed by the courtroom experience, the child might be required to directly express this preference to the court.
Courtrooms, however, can be intimidating. Additionally, the presence of parents sometimes makes children hesitate to give their preferences free of influence. In these situations, other options besides courtroom testimony might be given to the child. For example, a judge might interview children in private without the involvement of parents.
Advocating for the Best Interest of Children in California
A judge’s primary responsibility in custody cases is to promote the best interest of a child. In most cases, both parents have the right to custody. Children deserve to reside in homes that are safe and supportive. In situations where one parent cannot provide this environment, the other parent might be awarded full physical custody. Rather than children’s preferences, judges take various other factors into consideration including the child’s health, both parent’s substance abuse history (or lack of), any history involving domestic violence, and both parent’s work schedules. If you cannot reach a custody agreement, you might end up in court needing the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At Land Legal Group, our lawyers can help you pursue either sole or joint physical custody of your child. Our lawyers understand the rights as well as protections in California family law.
California Attorneys for Dependency Hearings
In many situations, dependency cases commence when a source (normally a teacher or doctor) files a report about a child’s home life. In these situations, it is often in your best interest to promptly obtain the assistance of an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with DCFS and Child Protective Services.
Following hearings that address these reports, DCFS will continue monitoring your family. During this period, an assigned Child Service Worker can recommend that your child be taken from the family home. Fortunately, with a Ventura family law attorney on your side, it’s often possible to avoid these undesirable results. If children are detained, hearings must be scheduled as soon as possible. During these hearings, your lawyer can argue for the reunification of the family, request visitation, or suggest that the child be placed with a family member.
Under California law, your family will be appointed an attorney during a dependency hearing. Particularly in comparison to private lawyers, these attorneys almost always do not have enough time to dedicate to making sure that your family is protected. As a result, in these situations, it’s almost always a better idea to retain the assistance of your own counsel. This is true even if you start the process with a court-appointed lawyer.
What Is Required for Adoption of Children in California Foster Homes
Foster care in California relies on the assumption that children might be able to return to the care of their biological parents or other family members eventually. Unfortunately, in many cases, children do not return. Sometimes, children continue living in foster care until they reach the age of eighteen. In other situations, children end up adopted by their foster parents.
Adoptions are not always as streamlined as traditional adoption, but an experienced Ventura family law attorney can help. In many situations, a child’s biological parents have no interest in terminating their parental rights. As a result, foster homes in these situations must pursue termination of parental rights through other options.
The Role of De Facto Parents in California
Various reasons exist why parents might need to establish de facto parent status. In many situations, adults are already caring for children daily but have no legal right to act as the child’s guardian. De Facto parent status lets adults continue providing for a child’s emotional and physical needs. The status of De Facto parents, however, does not guarantee visitation if the biological parent regains custody. De Facto parents, however, are allowed to request custody or visitation and can play a role in any hearings involving the placement of the child. In these situations, a compassionate California family law attorney can provide advice about filing for De Facto status.
At Land Legal Group, our family law firm in Ventura, CA also focuses on the following practice areas:
- Same-Sex Divorce
- Child Custody
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Grandparents Rights
- Fathers Rights
- Domestic Violence
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Dependency Law
Contact Our Experienced Ventura Child’s Rights Lawyers Today For a Consultation
Regardless of the legal situation that your family currently faces, it’s almost always in your best interest to obtain the assistance of a family law attorney who can help make sure your case is properly handled. If you currently live in Ventura or the surrounding area, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney at Land Legal Group who can provide you with the experienced representation that you and your family needs. Contact our law office today to schedule a case evaluation and learn about your available options at (805) 696-2160.