Daniele Johnson & Associates

Child Custody & Visitation Attorney


custody_photoDivorce and Child Custody

When kids are part of the picture, divorce negotiations are trickier. Ideally, each child should be able to develop solid relationships with both parents, but parents must negotiate the details of how that happens. A judge can formalize the child custody plan that parents have already agreed to or help settle a dispute.

The Best Interests of the Child

The judge looks at many different factors when making a decision about what’s in the child’s best interests, including:

  • Ability to financially support the child (…although child support is meant to equalize disparities to a certain extent)
  • Ability to provide a comfortable home
  • The emotional bond between the parents’ and child
  • Parents’ physical and emotional health
  • Parents’ involvement in the child’s educational and extra-curricular activities
  • General stability

In a contentious divorce, a vindictive parent may work hard to prove that the other parent is unfit. A good child custody attorney will help the judge see that the parent is caring and capable.

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

There are two types of custody to consider: legal and physical custody. Legal custody means that a parent has the ability to make decisions for that child. Examples include schooling, medical care, participation in sports, and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the right of the parent to live with the child. The judge grants sole or joint custody separately for each of these types. Many divorced parents share both types of custody.

Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody

Sole legal custody means that the parent is allowed to make decisions without consulting the other parent. Sole physical custody typically means that the child only lives with one parent and the other parent has parenting time as agreed upon by the parties.

Joint legal custody means that both parents must consult with each other before a decision on behalf of the child is made.  When the parents cannot agree on a decision, the parent who has the decision-making authority on the topic makes the final decision. In joint physical custody arrangements, the child resides with both parents at any given time.  It’s important to note that joint custody does not necessarily mean that the custody is split 50/50. For instance, the child might live with one parent during the school week, then stay at the other parent’s home every other weekend.

Creating a Parenting Plan

Getting joint or sole custody may feel like a win, but this alone doesn’t dictate what your life is going to look like after the divorce. It’s the parenting plan that’s ultimately important. This is the document that hammers out the details of the arrangement. In most cases, both parents deserve the opportunity to be in the child’s life, so you will have to come to an agreement about how you will split custody.

In the physical custody plan, you’ll be thinking about when the child will stay with each parent. This should spell out the details of everyday life, but also the details for holidays, including breaks from school.

A parenting plan for legal custody might specify which school the child will attend and which doctor the child will see.

Both types of plans should allow for reasonable adjustments without court involvement. For instance, if the parent wants to take the child on vacation, he or she should be able to do that even though it might go against the usual parenting plan.

If you’re fighting for custody of your child, you need an understanding lawyer on your side. Contact Daniele Johnson to see how she can help you get the custody you deserve.

Child Custody Attorney

No matter what your family may be going through right now, you must not forget that your child is innocent. All children deserve the love, affection, protection and support from both of their parents. Whether you are going through a divorce or seeking a modification of your current custody arrangement, parenting schedules must to be based on your child’s best interests.

Although no two clients are identical, many parents face similar issues. Daniele Johnson draws on her extensive experience to provide parents with innovative options to better suit their needs. As a mother of three, a certified guardian ad litem, and parenting coordinator, she has seen how different family custody plans affect children and are able to bring that insight to her clients.

Child Custody Lawyers

When a divorce action involves children, Daniele Johnson will make sure that every aspect of the case will take the child’s needs into consideration. She also understands that the needs of a child evolve as he or she grows older. What was determined to be the best for a child at one age may be completely different at another. In these cases, a modification of custody becomes necessary to protect the best interest of that child.

Daniele Johnson takes the parent’s needs, as well as the child’s emotions and state of mind, into account when planning case strategy. She handles these cases with the appropriate level of aggressive litigation, but with a delicate hand, not forgetting that there is a child involved, who, in most cases, loves both parents. Contact Daniele & Associates to help you develop a plan of action that works for you and your child’s best interest.

Daniele C. Johnson Esq.

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