Custody FAQs

At the Law Office of Michael L. Seidman, we have answers to your questions about child custody, backed by more than 30 years of family law experience. We combine a proven track record with the attentive service mothers and fathers deserve.

Contact us online or call 661-520-5214 to arrange a free consultation with a lawyer. Our firm practices in Bakersfield, Kern County and surrounding areas of California.

"Can I get sole custody?"

First of all, this depends on what you mean by sole custody. Sole legal custody — the right to make all decisions about how to raise the child — is extremely rare. Sole physical custody — providing the child's home — is not quite as rare, but still not a common outcome in custody cases.

Getting sole custody of children requires demonstrating that a child's other parent is unfit. Even in situations where substance abuse or other issues make sole custody an option, the parent will likely still have supervised visitation.

"Will I have to go to court?"

Your own actions will play a large role in determining this. In most cases, custody arrangements can be agreed upon by both parents and signed off on by a judge without going to court.

If you or the other parent is unwilling to negotiate in good faith or act amicably, litigation may become necessary. Ultimately, the case will be decided based on what is in the child's best interests.

It is our experience that outcomes that are agreed upon are much more palatable for parents, and come with much less cost — both financially and emotionally.

"I'm not married. How can I make sure I have parental rights?"

When a woman is married, it is presumed that her husband is the father. You have no such advantage. You must establish paternity in order to cement your right to visitation. This will also likely be accompanied by the obligation of paying child support.

"Can I take my children and move?"

This may be an option, but it will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation and whether the move represents the best interest of your child. Learn more.

"I'd like to adopt my stepchild. How can I make this happen?"

Stepparent and family adoptions are common in California. Our attorneys can help you pursue adoption and related issues such as the termination of parental rights.