Child Custody Lawyer

in Novato, CA

If you are considering filing for divorce or legal separation, or are in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, and you have one or more children with your spouse, a key issue that will need to be resolved is custody of your children. This issue is typically one of the most emotionally-charged and contentious matters that are litigated during a divorce. As a result, you should have a skilled and experienced Novato family law attorney and child custody lawyer to help guide you through this process and advocate for you. If any child custody modifications are needed, we can guide you through the custody case process. 

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Best Interest of Your Child, or Children, is Paramount

When it comes to Making A child custody Decision, California judges typically analyze custody based on the child’s best interest. In most cases, you and your spouse will begin with equal rights on the issue of custody. A judge will then apply an array of factors to assess how custody and child support should be allocated.

When assessing the best interests of your child, or children, California judges adhere to two guiding principles – (i) the health, safety, and welfare of your children and (ii) there is a cognizable benefit to your children engaging in frequent and continued contact with both you and your spouse, i.e. joint custody and shared custody.

Within these two overarching principle, a judge will consider an array of factors. For example, a judge often prefers to make a decision where the child will be able to maintain stability and continuity in their home environment, including maintaining a level care and emotional bonds with a primary caretaker, i.e primary custody.

In addition, California judges consider which parent is more likely to encourage a positive, healthy relationship between the child and the other parent.

Judges will also do all they can to keep siblings together, with the exemption of certain extraordinary circumstances.

Preference of Child May Be Considered

Depending on the age of your child, a judge can consider their preference on which parent they want to live with on a regular basis. You may be asking, “How old does my child need to be to make this decision?” Well, California law does not specify any specific age, but the older and more mature a child is, the more likely it is a judge will give weight to the child’s preferences.

Factors That Can Result in the Loss of Custody

There are certain factors that arise from a child custody case that will likely lead a judge not to award custody and/or visitation rights to a parent. These factors include:

Evidence of you of your spouse engaging in habitual use of alcohol or illegal narcotics.

California child custody law expressly prohibits judges from granting any form of custody to a parent who was convicted of committing rape, sexual abuse, and/or first degree murder

Things to keep in mind For

Child Custody

Custody Arrangements

When it comes to child custody, it is important to understand that “custody” is multifaceted. For example, custody consists of both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is related to your ability to participate in key decisions that will impact your child’s health, welfare, education, and overall development. In contrast, physical custody is related to your child’s physical presence with you or your spouse. If you hear the term “joint physical custody” it basically means that each parent will receive significant periods of physical custody of their child, or children. Receiving physical custody does not necessarily equate to legal custody and vice versa.

In most cases, California judges prefer to award joint physical custody and joint legal custody when both parents are in agreement. If there is a custody dispute, then there is then no starting presumption for or against either parent when it comes to joint custody.


You Have a Say in How Custody Will Be Decided

It is important to know that the decision of custody is not made solely by a judge. You and your spouse have the chance to negotiate an amicable parenting plan, arrangements, and spousal support when it comes to both legal and physical custody. If you can reach an agreement, it will then be submitted to a judge by a child custody attorney for approval. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse, a judge will then be tasked with deciding child custody. You may also request child custody modifications through a court hearing.

Common child custody arrangements include:

  • Sole legal custody
  • Sole physical custody, where one parent has full physical custody, and the other parent is a non custodial parent
  • Joint legal custody
  • Joint physical custody

Involved in a Child Custody Dispute with Your Spouse?

If you are contemplating filing for divorce, or are in the process of getting divorced, and need help assessing your rights pertaining to child custody, Castro Law Offices, P.C. child custody lawyers are ready and able to help. We are a premier law firm specializing divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning California family law. Castro Law Offices, P.C. is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices, P.C. today to schedule a confidential consultation.


Jeremy Castro helped me with an adoption after my daughter’s dad passed away. My husband has been a step dad to her for 8 years and wanted to adopt her. Even though there is no way he can completely fill the role of her deceased father, he wanted to fully be there for her and offer comfort and emotional support for her. Jeremy and his wife Danielle were there every step of the way for us! I’m so grateful they were there to help with all of our questions and guide us though this process. Jermey’s passion for helping bring families together was so delightful.
This review is about my experience with Jeremy and team at Castro Law. After calling around numerous times to different firms, going to the law library, and reaching out to dads rights advocates. I still didn’t get much help. I made the best choice of my life by calling Castro Law. If you’re reading this I recommend at least giving them a call because they mean business. I finally feel at peace , they went above and beyond for me. The team is great at communicating, very knowledgeable, helpful, and are professional. In my experience mothers are the one favored in the courts, and get the better outcome. Jeremy and team were in my corner the whole time and proved that dads have rights too! Im with this team until my kids are 18 , thanks again Castro Law
I highly recommend Jeremy Castro and his associates to any future clients. They are legal professionals who: 1. Know and apply the law to your individual case to achieve the best possible outcome 2. Communicate in a fair and straightforward manner to all parties 3. Reduce the tension in an otherwise emotional setting and assist making objective decisions. They personally saw my case through to an amicable conclusion and their billing hours were appropriate. First class performance!
I wanted to take this time to write a review about my experience with Castro Law Offices. First off, they were not only FAST to my reply, but also very kind to my emotional situation. I was even handed some tissues for when I was crying. I was treated with the upmost respect (even though I'm sure I looked a little manic while in there explaining my case.) and kindness. They got my case close within a week, and also got me EVERYTHING I was asked for. I recommend Castro Law for ANYONE in need of lawyer assistance. Jeremy and his team work hard, day and night to make sure they meet all of their client's needs. If you're looking for immediate help and guidance with ANY attorney, Castro Law.
When things came to a point of contention with my children's father I knew I needed the help of an attorney. After weeks long search and hundreds of dollars in consultation fees with numerous other attorneys I finally found Jeremy! He is very knowledgeable regarding family law issues, authentic in his character and legal advice, as well as very reliable. As anyone in our shoes has been knows, the unknown can be very stressful. Jeremy made it a point to get back to me promptly when I contacted him...sometimes late into the night. He also was very transparent regarding communication with the other party. Would absolutely recommend Jeremy to anyone with with family law needs!
I was so happy I had decided to hire the Castro Law Office for my child custody and visitation case in Napa County. As a single father of three boys in the state of California, I felt as if I was already doomed thinking that the state would favor the mother regardless of my capability to care for our children. Jeremy was very empathetic and worked diligently to get myself in a good position for the hearing, as I hired him approximately a month prior to the court date. During the hearing, he was very stern and aggressive at the right moments. The situation I was in was extremely stressful and hiring the Castro Law Office helped put my mind at ease. He was very upfront and honest with me from the beginning and which is a trait I greatly appreciated. In the end, we were able to obtain an agreement that is best suited for the children and ourselves. I would hire them again for any other issues I might have in the future.

Have Questions About Child Custody Laws in California?

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