Protecting Your Children's Best Interests

"The scales that represent your profession truly represent [what Brenda Murdock] is about." – Client testimonial

Brenda Murdock is certified in the practice of family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. She has been helping clients like you get through the difficult issues of child custody and child visitation for decades. She is personable, friendly and brings a wealth of legal knowledge to bear for her clients.

At ANTHONY and MURDOCK, we can explain what your child custody and child visitation rights are and how to resolve them. We can also help with grandparents' rights, fathers' rights and creating parenting plans and parenting schedules. Contact our attorneys in Monterey to learn more about our child custody services.

The following information is a brief overview of child custody law in the State of California:

Physical Custody

Child custody in California is based upon the concept of "the best interests of the child." When there are two interested, active parents, a co-parenting plan can be crafted that will support those interests. We will help you protect your relationship with your children, using mediation and litigation where appropriate to help your family work out the most effective plan for you.

If there is uneven availability between the parents, the court makes a determination of which parent will be the most appropriate physical custodian (the parent the child lives with most of the time) based upon the needs of the child and how the parents can best meet those needs. When this arrangement is best, a visitation schedule can be crafted that will promote strong relationships between the children and both parents.

Joint Legal Custody

California courts can award joint legal custody to the parents of child. This means that both parents have the right to make decisions about their child's education, medical care and religious training. Where appropriate, sole legal custody can be awarded, leaving all such decisions to one parent while still allowing for the most suitable level of visitation by the other.

The factors that are weighed in determining how parents can serve the best interest of their children are:

  • Age of the child and his or her physical and emotional needs
  • The preference of an older child
  • The existing relationship between the parents
  • The role each parent has played in raising the child
  • The financial circumstances of each parent
  • History of physical, mental or sexual abuse of the child or other parent
  • Parental history of use of drugs and alcohol
  • Other factors determined to be important by the court

None of these factors is controlling, and each of them can be given different weight at the discretion of the court. The court only has to explain its justification for giving more weight to one factor than another.

Our lawyers take the time to fully understand your situation and its strengths and weaknesses. In an atmosphere of mutual trust, we can recommend steps you can take to improve your parenting, relationships and family opportunities. We will listen to you carefully and can make an effective case for your interests as a parent and those of your children.

How Mediation Can Help In Custody Situations

Mediation has been gaining popularity as an effective, low-cost method of resolving child custody issues. In mediation, there is absolute confidentiality between the parties. The parties are given the opportunity to work out a child custody arrangement and visitation schedule without having to resort to litigation.

Brenda Murdock is an experienced, intuitive mediator and, with her extensive knowledge of what kinds of agreements are legal in California, she can guide your discussion to a resolution that benefits all involved. To determine whether mediation is right for you, contact our office in Monterey, California, by calling (831) 655-1661.