Child Custody Lawyer | Attorney
California Penal Code 278.5 PC
Child custody disputes are heart-wrenching... each and every one of them. We all want what is best for our children, and these disputes can sometimes get out of control. We hope we can help you resolve your child custody dispute in your favor with some information. Please don't be afraid to call us for help. The most important thing to remember about a child-custody dispute is that the court will always interpret your actions within the lens of "is this what is best for the child?" Therefore actions that involve anger, violence, and aggression will be looked at in the most unfavorable light. If you want to win your child custody dispute, you must be prepared to make the hard and strategic choices. An experienced San Diego trial attorney can help.
Types of Child Custody Disputes:
( ) Denial of Visitation Rights
( ) Kidnapping
( ) Child Abduction
( ) "Child Detention"
FIRST -Assess the situation, if you believe you have a legal right to custody you may call the police to enforce the situation. However, Police might report the situation to Child Protective Services (CPS) and your custody status in general could be in jeopardy.
Call an experienced child custody attorney before you call the police (unless the child is in danger of physical harm). We will help you resolve your child custody dispute quickly and without incident.
Penalties to a Charge of PC 278.5
Is denial of child custody a misdemeanor or a felony?
The answer depends on the specific history of your case. If the instance being charged is the first instance of a deprivation and there is a good reason for the deprivation, the DA is not likely going to charge you the first time around. However, while most deprivations are likely charged as misdemeanors, a charge could easily cross the line to felony is a parent does not know where the child is and the other parent actively tries to conceal their whereabouts.
Misdemeanor Child Custody Deprivation
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Felony Child Custody Deprivation
The maximum penalty for a felony deprivation of child custody is 3 years and a $10,000 fine.
Non-violently resolving child custody issues is of paramount importance to the court and your child's future.
Defenses to a Charge of Child Custody Deprivation
Standing - The Other Person Lacked Legal Right To Make Complaint
In order to complain to the police about a deprivation of child custody that person must have the right of custody. A common defense is to demonstrate that the person asserting custodial deprivation did not have a right of custody.
Protecting the Child -
If you reasonably fear that the other parent/guardian will cause physical injury to your child, then you are justified in depriving custody or visitation. However it is risky to assert this claim to the police without a lawyer present as your statements could be used to deprive your custody rights by your opponant.
You didn't act with malice
The custody deprivation was not intentional and was a result of forces or circumstances beyond your control. This defense is less successful if your opponant can demonstrate a pattern of behavior (i.e. you were habitually late in dropping the child off, etc.)
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