Child Custody & Visitation

Merrisa L. Coleman-Bishop, Northern California and Santa Clara County Child Custody Lawyer

San Jose child custody and parenting time attorney Merrisa Coleman-Bishop can help establish your right to a meaningful relationship with your child in a divorce case, in a situation involving unmarried parents, or in the dissolution of a domestic partnership.

Her thorough understanding of the California Family Code and her practical advice on shared parenting time or visitation issues can clarify the issues for you and help you achieve your objectives as a parent.

If you are dealing with a child custody and visitation matter, contact San Jose family law attorney Merrisa Coleman-Bishop. She can help you resolve the custody issue in a matter suitable to your needs and the best interests of your children, and she represents people throughout the Bay Area and Northern California, including Sacramento.

Negotiating Child Custody Matters in California

In divorce cases, the Family Court encourages the parties to negotiate and resolve issues concerning primary physical custody of the child and the noncustodial parent's visitation rights. A mutually acceptable parenting plan defines the specific rights of each parent as to where the child will live, and when the other parent will see the child on an overnight, weekend or extended basis.

When the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan or designation of a primary caregiver, the divorcing spouses will be expected to take their issues to mediation. If mediation fails, a judicial custody conference will try to narrow the basis of dispute and either set the issue for trial or send it back to mediation.

California Parenting Time and Child Support

Child custody / parenting time and child support issues are interrelated. The amount of the noncustodial parent's child support obligations will generally be discounted by the percentage of time the child spends overnight at that parent's home.

Child Custody and Domestic Violence Issues in California

The presence of a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against you will seriously undermine and often preclude your right to any child custody at all. Because motions for DVROs are too often filed in bad faith as a means of obtaining leverage in child custody disputes, accusations of family violence must always be taken extremely seriously, no matter how ridiculous the allegations might seem.

Child Custody Modifications for Northern California Clients

In the event of a significant change in a parent or child's circumstances, existing child custody agreements can be modified. Reasons to modify a child custody or visitation agreement include:

  • Parent moves to another city
  • Parent remarries
  • Parent can no longer effectively care for a child
  • Parent abuses or otherwise harms a child
  • Child is older and requires a different plan for school and extracurricular activities
  • Child does not get along with the custodial or noncustodial parent

Contact the Law Office of Merrisa Coleman-Bishop in San Jose

San Jose child custody attorney Merrisa Coleman-Bishop can advise you as to all of the factors that bear upon child custody and parental fitness questions. She also handles cases involving bisexual parents in California domestic partnerships or less formal family arrangements, as well as straight parents who have never married.

For further information about all aspects of child custody and parenting time or visitation issues and disputes, contact San Jose child custody lawyer Merrisa Coleman-Bishop.