Joan A. Watters, Esq. 
                                                                                                                                                             California Attorney

FREQUENTLYasked                                        Child Custody

We try to anticipate questions you might have and provide general information here. The following is not to be considered legal advice.  If you need additional information please schedule an appointment for an informational consultation with the attorney today.


Do I Need An Attorney?

800 number

You can access tools and information at this website, and, generally, online.  However, the information you obtain from this website is not legal advice.  Any legal questions you have should be addressed to an attorney.  You can schedule an intitial telephonic informational consultation by clicking the button below to speak directly to the Family Law Attorney who will provide you with more information. 


What Is The Difference Between Legal And Physical Custody? 

800 number 

Legal Custody relates to the rights you have as a parent to make decisions as to the childs health, education and welfare.  Physical Custody in a divorce proceeding relates to the time you have the child under your exclusive custody and control according to an agreed upon parenting plan or court order. 


Can We Create Our Own Parenting Plan? 

800 number 

Both parents can agree to a parenting plan.  The plan can be prepared as a Stipulation submitted to the court requesting entry as an order.  The plan can also be incorporated into a comprehensive Marital Settlement Agreement, which can be incoporated into the final divorce judgment.  Parenting plans can also be modified by agreement.   


Do We Need A Court Order?   

800 number

If you have minor children, your final Judgment in a divorce proceeding should contain custody and support provisions.  During the pendency of a divorce proceeding a Court order is uneccesary if both parents are in agreement and no problems arise.  However, it may be important to obtain an interum order to protect each parent's rights of visitation and custody until a final divorce decree is entered.  Post divorce modification of custody orders can be made by written agreement submitted to the court in proper form.   


How Can We Get A Court Order Without Going To Court? 

800 number

If you have a case open, a written Stipulation in proper form may be lodged with the Court requesting entry.  A fee is usually required to request a court order.  If you do not have a case open, you will have to establish one.  It is a good idea to have the assitance of an attorney to help draft the Stipulation and review local rules, requirements and protocols before proceeding.  


What Is Mediation?  

800 number

Mediation is a process where a trained mediator will assist the parties to reach an agreement.  Private mediation is always available to both parents.  Most Private Family Law Mediators are trained professionals, knowledgeable in Family Law, age specific parenting plans, and skills to assist in resolution. 


What Is The Cost Of A Consultation With An Attorney?

800 number

Fees for Family Law attorney's across California vary.  Some attorney's charge by the hour, some require retainers and some charge flat fees.  This office offers an initial 30 minute telephonic informational consultation at 1/2 current hourly rate. 


Can I Consult Over The Phone?

800 number

We offer telephonic consultation.  An initial informational telephonic Consultation can be scheduled using our online scheduling calendar, or by request.  If you need legal representation, or just coaching services, and we decide to enter into an attorney/client relationship, we will then open a case file for you and enter into a written agreement for services.  You will then be able to schedule telephonic or in office consultations at your convenience.  Consultation services are prepaid.    


Can You Help Me With A Parenting Plan?

800 number

The attorney can meet with one or both parents to assist in developing a proper parenting plan for your family.  We encourage you to contact us and schedule an initial informational consultation.  A one hour in-office consultation can be scheduled accessing our online calendar.  Or, you can schedule an infomative initial telephonic consultation.  This office provides mediation services, coaching services, or full legal representation. 


What If The Other Parent Does Not Agree?

800 number

Often times parents can not agree on a parenting schedule.  That is not unusual.  A parent can 1) file a motion in court and have a judge decide the family's fate, or 2) agree to select a private mediator trained to assist parents reach their own agreement while focusing on the best interests of the child(ren).  Mediation is held in the privacy of an informal office or conference room, in a setting that will allow both parents to address all issues involving their children.  Once parents reach agreement, a stipulation for court order can be drafted and submitted to a judge for entry.  The attorney provides private mediation services as well as initial informational consultation to both parents.     

Schedule the Attorney and go direct to calendar

I offer online scheduling using BookFresh

(Prepay option available)

Official PayPal Seal

Click here to send e-mail