Child Custody

At Feinberg & Waller, APC, we understand how important your children are to you. Our attorneys are sensitive to protecting your children's rights throughout the divorce process. We know what family law judges expect, and we have experience working with the independent professionals that are often brought into custody negotiations. We are sensitive, discreet and non-judgmental when it comes to the numerous issues relating to children and divorce.

We Are Often The Child Custody Law Firm That Other Attorneys Turn To

Attorney Marshall Waller is a California board-certified family law specialist who has been helping clients resolve their complex child custody issues for more than 35 years. At Feinberg & Waller, family law is our only area of legal practice. Since our firm began serving the needs of Los Angeles area communities many years ago, we have become recognized as a law firm other lawyers look to when they need help in their own personal family law matters. Legal professionals, doctors and business executives turn to us when their children's interests are at stake in divorce.

You have questions... Marshall Waller speaks candidly about child custody.
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Contact us to discuss your specific child custody concern. When it's about your children, only experience matters.

We represent clients in California divorce and family law matters relating to:

They're Your Children. Confidentiality is important.

We understand how important being discreet is in legal matters such as child custody and parenting rights. We have office procedures and polices in place to help protect your family's confidentiality. Where children are involved, Feinberg & Waller also pledges to view your children with the utmost importance, regardless of which parent brings the case to court. We practice with your children's best interests in mind at all times. Your divorce is more than simply a matter of dividing property and financial assets — your decisions will have a tremendous impact on your life, as well as those around you.

Custody And Visitation

When parents divorce, the divorce decree will specify with whom the children will live, and how often and under what circumstances the other parent will visit with the children. Often, parents work out these arrangements between themselves, either voluntarily or with the assistance of their attorneys or a mediator. When they are unable to reach a decision, or when unmarried parents are unable to agree on who will have custody of their child, the court may intervene and make a decision based on the "best interests of the child."

In many situations, physical custody is awarded to one parent (sole custody). However, often the custodial parent shares "legal custody" of the child with the non-custodial parent. "Legal custody" includes the right to make decisions about the child's education, religion, health care and other important concerns. When one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the other parent is granted visitation, either according to a clear schedule of dates and times, or on a "reasonable" basis. If allegations of abuse have been raised against the non-custodial parent, any visitation granted may be subject to supervision by a neutral third party. Grandparents and stepparents may also be entitled to visitation privileges.

Joint Custody And Split Custody

Some parents have chosen a joint-custody arrangement in which the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents. Since joint custody requires a high degree of cooperation between the parents, courts are reluctant to order joint custody unless both parents are in agreement and can demonstrate the ability to make joint decisions and cooperate for the child's sake. Another option is split custody, in which one parent has custody of one or more of the parties' children and the other parent has custody of the other(s). Courts usually prefer not to separate siblings, however, when issuing custody orders.

When the child's parents are unmarried, most state laws require that the mother be awarded sole physical custody unless the father takes action to be awarded custody. An unwed father may have difficulty gaining custody over a mother who is a good parent, but he will usually take priority over other relatives, foster parents or prospective adoptive parents.

In deciding who will have custody, the courts consider various factors. The overriding consideration is always the "best interests of the child." Often, the main factor is which parent has been the child's primary caretaker. If the children are old enough, the courts will take their preference into account in making a custody decision. Once entered, a custody award can be changed by the court if the parent's or children's circumstances have changed.

Some commentators have criticized the courts as being gender-biased, since many custody awards are in the mother's favor. Others respond to this criticism, however, with the fact that historically mothers have been, and in many cases continue to be, the children's primary caregiver, so the higher number of awards to mothers is appropriate. As more fathers become more actively involved in their children's care, there likely will be more custody awards to fathers. Because custody and visitation decisions involve such important considerations and impact so many lives, the assistance of an experienced lawyer is an essential element of the decision-making process.

Contact us to schedule a consultation.

**The initial consultation to clients who retain Feinberg & Waller, APC. A significantly reduced flat fee is charged for the initial consultation. That fee is credited back to the client upon retention, thus resulting in no charge for the meeting. In the event the initial consultation fails to result in the retention of Feinberg & Waller, APC, the potential client nonetheless receives the consultation services at the significantly reduced fee.