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Custody

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce concerns the issue of child custody and visitation.  Attorneys, Michael Kennedy and Brandy Estelle, understand the importance of establishing enforceable court orders that govern this important area of family law. The more detailed the language, the less likely one or both parents are to misunderstand their respective rights and obligations under the court order.

Procedurally, child custody and visitation proceedings require mandatory mediation. This part of the process can be used to encourage the parents to develop a workable parenting plan with the assistance of a court appointed mediator. Estelle & Kennedy, APLC, finds that this element of the process can be an important catalyst toward developing a mutual parenting  plan that serves the best interest of the child or children.  Moreover, it empowers the parents with decision making capacity concerning the plight of their children rather than acquiescing to the court’s will.

Under California law, child custody orders are defined in two categories: legal custody and physical custody. Either type of custody may be awarded to one parent “sole custody” or to both parents “joint custody“.

  • Legal custody orders determine which parent (or both) have the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health,education,and welfare of the child.
  • Sole legal custody orders confer legal custody to one parent; joint legal custody confers the right equally to both parents.
  • Physical custody orders determine where the child lives; sole physical custody identifies the parent with whom the child primarily resides. Joint physical custody identifies both parents’ residence a the place where the child resides.
  • Visitation rights are normally awarded to the non-custodial parent, i.e., the parent who does not have joint or primary physical custody.

The attorneys at Estelle & Kennedy, APLC, possess exceptional skill in all facets of family law including child custody and visitation. Their extensive record of success separates them from many family law attorneys. In addition to offering superior litigation skill, Estelle & Kennedy, APLC, often prevails at reaching settlements that benefit the children while preserving a spirit of cooperation between the parents. Whenever possible, Estelle & Kennedy, APLC, seeks an amicable solution rather than divisive, protracted litigation as a means of resolving family law issues. However, when this approach fails, the attorneys at Estelle & Kennedy, APLC are very capable of aggressive advocacy for our clients.