Child Custody Lawyers

Child Custody Lawyers

Child Custody | Kleeman Kremen Family Lawyers

Child custody can be one of the most emotionally charged elements of a divorce or parentage case. Parents worry they will lose time with their children, lose decision making ability, and that their children will be unhappy or uncomfortable in the other parent’s home – to the point where, sometimes, children may be subjected to overly harsh discipline or even abuse.

As ethical child custody attorneys, the best interest of the children is always a major consideration. At Kleeman Kremen, we recognize that parent advocacy secures the best result when grounded in the “best interests of the children” standard. We can be fierce advocates for parents when they, or their children, need protection. These are specialized cases and parties need lawyers with specialized knowledge and skill.

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California Custody Law

California law puts the safety of children first when it comes to making child custody determinations. A child’s ability to have frequent contact with parents is also a major consideration since California law is designed to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing.

Other considerations in custody decisions include the child’s developmental stage and personality, the pattern of historical care, and the child’s unique special needs (including special educational needs).

A judge will consider how the child has spent his or her time in the past, but is not necessarily bound by the “status quo”. The court makes its custody decision based on the “best interests” of the child.

California also recognizes that children may be bonded to more than one parent or caretaker. Our unique, “three-parent” statutes aim to keep children together with those to whom they are bonded.

Types of Custody

Two types of custody must be assigned when getting a divorce or in a parentage case – physical custody and legal custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody gives parents the right to make decisions for their child. These decisions include decisions pertaining to healthcare, education, religious upbringing, extra-curricular activities and overall welfare.

Legal custody can be joint or sole, meaning that parents can share legal custody or it can be exclusively assigned to one parent.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to who the child physically lives with. Physical custody can be joint or sole (primary). Joint custody does not always mean an equal 50/50 split in time however. Each child custody schedule should be tailored to the unique circumstances of the family.

Popular child custody schedules vary, from alternating weeks (50/50 split), to alternating weekends (one parent has primary custody and then alternates weekends with the other parent). When creating a child custody schedule, the best interest and well-being of the child should be the top priority.

Custody Jurisdiction

Sometimes there are questions regarding which court should hear a particular child custody case. Jurisdictional requirements are governed by both state, federal and international treaty law. Most recently, California passed legislation to protect parents and children who come to this state for gender transitional treatment. Other situations can present jurisdictional and other legal challenges when a parent wishes to move out of California.

At Kleeman Kremen, we have the specialized knowledge and have experienced the full gamut of child custody and parentage proceedings.

Court is Not the Only Option | Child Custody Mediation

In California, the court prefers that parents work out their custody arrangement. In fact, it is mandatory under California law for the parties to attend mediation before proceeding to a hearing on custody.

At Kleeman Kremen, our team serves as both mediators as well as consulting attorneys to mediation. We also work with other professionals – co-parent counselors and custody evaluators – to help families make progress and, hopefully resolve their child custody matters outside of court. We have helped countless individuals reach a consensual child custody agreement that benefits the entire family.

Dena Kleeman and Ruth Kremen

Dena A. Kleeman and Ruth S. Kremen have the kind of experience that is crucial in the practice of family law.

As a certified family law specialist, Dena A. Kleeman is recognized by the State Bar of California as having the requisite education and experience to represent clients in the specialized field of family law. She received training and certification as a divorce mediator through an approved program of the National Academy of Family Mediators. Ms. Kleeman has practiced family law full-time since her graduation from Stanford Law School in 1983.

Ruth S. Kremen has been practicing full-time family law since 1993. She has a wide background in the practice of civil litigation, including family law litigation. Ms. Kremen graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1982, clerked for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1983, and entered private practice in 1984.

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