February 5, 2011 By Paul Wallin

A party may choose not to file for Dissolution or file a paternity action but may want to get Custody and Visitation orders. This is possible. A party may file a Petition for Custody. However, there are still many forms that need to be filed with this Petitioner and it is important that an attorney prepare the forms to make the best possible case.

Once a party files a Petition for Custody the other parent has to file a Response to the papers filed if you want the court to have any input from you on what you want. If you do not file a response the Court can make orders without hearing your side of the story. You also cannot bring up new issues in your response. You can only respond to what the Petitioner is requesting. If you want the court to address additional issues you will have to file your own request for a hearing and all the necessary forms that accompany your request. It is important to know which forms are required and the time limits on filing the forms with the court.

In some situations the court may request an evaluation. This is to help determine what is best for the child. The child custody evaluator will consider that health, safety, welfare and best interest of the child with regard to custody and visitation issues. The child custody evaluator may interview the parents, children, grandparents, other relatives, or other parties to the case. The evaluator may also seek information from teachers, day care providers or medical providers. The evaluation could include reports written by mental health professionals, law enforcement agencies, drug and alcohol testing providers or reports from providers of anger management or parenting classes. You will be provided with a copy of the report once it is completed, however the report is confidential and should not be shared with anyone other than your attorney if you have one. There are costs associated with a child custody evaluation.

Therefore, it is important to have a knowledgeable family law attorney assist you in this process since it is very complex. Wallin & Klarich has more than 30 years of experience in family law. Our attorneys know from long experience in custody cases, and are prepared to fight to get you the best possible outcome. With 16 attorneys in 33 offices throughout Southern California, we can be there when you need us — wherever you are. If you’re thinking of hiring an attorney for a custody matter, call us today at 1-888-749-7428 for a consultation.

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