In This Section

Let An Experienced, Compassionate Child Custody Attorney Advocate For You And Your Children

Even if the rest of your divorce goes smoothly and amicably, things can get very heated when it comes to issues of child custody. Yet it is especially important to maintain civility during child custody proceedings in order to protect your children from the damaging effects of a high-conflict legal dispute.

California law requires that child custody decisions be made in the best interests of children. At Denny Kershek Family Law Attorney, we believe that when it comes to protecting those interests, the child custody process is nearly as important as the outcome. That's why we strive to reach peaceful, negotiated resolutions whenever possible. And of course, we will do all we can to safeguard your child custody rights and your relationship with your children.

Terminology And Practices To Understand

There are two types of custody: Legal and physical. Legal custody refers to each parent's authority to make decisions that affect the health, education and welfare of the kids. In most cases, parents will both have legal custody regardless of how much time they are allotted with their kids.

The other type is physical custody, which refers to when the children are physically in your presence and under your care. Each parent's allotment of physical custody is often referred to as his or her "time-share" or "custodial time-share." California courts are increasingly trying to keep both parents involved in their children's lives, although that does not necessarily equate to an equal time-share for each parent.

Mediation Vs. Litigation: The Choice Is Clear

If you feel that your spouse will be unreasonable about child custody matters, you may want to skip negotiations and go straight to litigation. Most of the time, this is a bad idea because it gives you very little control over the outcome.

In traditional child custody litigation, you and your children would likely be required to meet with a family law custody evaluator. This court-appointed representative would spend a maximum of one to two hours meeting you, your spouse and the children. That is not nearly enough time to get to know everyone involved and to understand the dynamics of family member relationships. After conducting research and interviews, the custody evaluator would make a recommendation to the court.

Starting with mediation is a much better approach. Here's why:

In most custody cases, attorney Denny Kershek tries to get a private mediator appointed. If we use a private mediator, both parents (and children and other family members) get to speak to someone individually. Everyone gets to be heard and the mediator has more time and opportunity to understand the full context of how the family interacts and operates.

The mediator will then work with both parents to see if a custody agreement can be reached. If not, he or she will provide a written evaluation to the court, which could be influential in the ultimate decision. But unlike the recommendation of a custody evaluator, this written report will be based on thorough, thoughtful interviews and research.

Contact Us To Speak With A Lawyer For Free

Located in Poway, Denny Kershek Family Law Attorney serves clients in and around San Diego County. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, send us an email or call 619-908-1899.