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Los Angeles, CA Child custody lawyers (353 attorneys, 2683 reviews)

Compare Child Custody attorneys near you. Read reviews and contact them directly.

  • Berenji & Associates
    550 S. Hill Street, STE 1467, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    Dedicated Family Law lawyer assisting those going through divorce and custody disputes. Call today.
  • Law Offices of Anat Resnik
    510 W 6th St, #1220, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 9.9  
    Need An Experienced Family Law Attorney To Help You Through This Difficult Time? Call 818-926-4320
    13101 W Washington Blvd, Ste 108, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 8.6  
    My practice is devoted to family law and juvenile dependency law (child abuse). In my family law practice, I litigate issues in child custody and visitation; child support; spousal support; and asset and liability distribution. In my juvenile de...
  • Randi Susan Klein, Attorney at Law
    1055 West 7th Street, 33rd Floor Penthouse, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 8.8  
    Aggressive, Compassionate, Effective Representation. Call Today! 213-634-1746
    Avvo Rating: 9.6  
    Civil Litigator and Certified Family Law Specialist. Licensed since 1989. Free Consult 323-629-4831
  • Trabolsi Levy Gabbard, LLP
    9255 W. Sunset Blvd., Ste 720, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    I provide solutions to divorce and custody conflicts that are tailored to your family dynamics, financial stability and future considerations. Even in the most complex, high conflict and high-value cases, I consistently deliver practical, fair, co...
  • The Ratinoff Law Group
    12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1940, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    Big firm experience with the attention of a sole practitioner. Call today so we can help you!
  • Furman & Zavatsky LLP
    1801 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    Los Angeles Family Law Attorney. Client's Choice Award in 2014.  Lee Zavatsky is a partner at Furman & Zavatsky, a law firm dedicated to the practice of Family Law. Mr. Zavatsky has been selected as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by The National Tria...
  • Davies Wegner Law
    11661 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 710, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    Chloe S. Wolman is a Partner at Davies Wegner Law.  Chloe represents clients in all aspects of family law litigation including divorce, paternity, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, restraining orders and prenuptial agre...
  • Law Office of Karen S. Brown
    10866 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 9.9  
    Karen Brown has had a long and diverse legal career for 45 years. She began practicing general civil litigation with a concentration in the entertainment industry and eventually, expanded to provide services encompassing real estate, probate, labo...
  • Brot, Gross & Fishbein LLP
    15260 Ventura Blvd, Suite 1500, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 9.6  
    Ann Moder is a former partner of one of Chicago’s leading family law firms, and began transitioning her practice to Los Angeles in 2012. She is licensed to practice in both California and Illinois, and focuses her practice on family law. Prior to ...
  • Wasser, Cooperman & Mandles
    2049 Century Park East, Suite 800, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    Review: “I am grateful for being recommended to Walzer and Melcher - and to Jennie. She helped me through a nerve-wracking time, and I always felt like my best interest was being serviced. Thank you.”
  • Nathans Family Law, APC
    5670 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1400, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 8.4  
    In recognition of Mr. Nathans' superior family law skills. Mr Nathans has been named a Super Lawyer by Los Angeles Magazine every year since 2012. Attorney Michael Nathans is your strongest legal advocate with 25 years of proven results. As the f...
  • Feinberg Mindel Brandt & Klein, LLP
    12424 Wilshire Blvd., Ninth Floor, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 10  
    I am a Family Law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist with experience in all aspects of domestic relations and divorce law. I represent clients in all stages of divorce proceedings, from inception through trial or settlement, and post-Jud...
  • Trope & DeCarolis LLP
    12121 Wilshire Blvd Ste 1325, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 8.5  
    I have been in practice since 1978. My practice focused on family law from the beginning.  I became a family specialist in 1984 and have been since.  I have been the Chair of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and hav...
  • Youngman Reitshtein, PLC
    10507 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
    Avvo Rating: 9.0  
    Review: “I had the pleasure of working with Lauren on a very complicated and unique family case that dated back years. From the first day I met with Lauren and Ron they were able to help me understand all my rights. They both ...


If you’re going through a divorce with children, you’ll need to determine where and with whom your children will live. A child custody lawyer can help you negotiate custody, either by agreement or in court. If you as parents can’t agree on child custody, a judge will decide for you. Continue reading to learn more about the process and costs of child custody cases in Los Angeles and California.

Types of Child Custody

Legal Custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make major decisions about a child's welfare, health, and education, including:

-where a child will go to school

-whether a child will engage in religious activities, and

-whether a child should receive medical care (except in emergency situations).

Joint vs. Sole Legal Custody. Legal custody can be shared (joint) or sole. In California, joint legal custody means that both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child. Joint legal custody is very common in California. The fact that parents share joint legal custody, however, doesn’t mean they will share joint physical custody.

Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the right to make all major decisions relating to the child and can do so without the other parent's input. The fact that a parent has sole legal custody doesn’t mean that parent will also have sole physical custody.

Physical Custody. Physical custody refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. The parent with physical custody has the right to have the child physically present in the home. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent, that parent is usually referred to as the custodial parent, while the other is the noncustodial parent and typically has visitation rights.

Joint vs. Sole Physical Custody. Joint physical custody means that both parents have significant periods of physical custody. If a child's time is divided equally—or close to equally—between the parents, they are sharing joint physical custody.

Sole physical custody means a child resides with one parent, subject to the court's authority to order visitation time with the other.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

In California, judges decide custody according to what is in the best interest of the child. To decide a child’s best interests, the court will consider many factors, including:

-the child’s age and health

-the emotional ties between each parent and the child

-the ability of each parent to care for the child

-any history of family violence or substance abuse, and

-the child’s ties to school, home, and community.

Legal Custody. Parents usually share joint legal custody, unless one of the following is true: the parents are completely unable to make decisions together

-one parent is deemed unfit

-one parent is incapable of making decisions regarding the welfare of the child, or

-it would be in the child’s best interests for only one parent to have sole legal custody.

Physical Custody. When deciding physical custody, courts will determine the child's best interests. In most cases, courts strive for equal—or close to equal—parenting time, because it’s usually in the child’s best interests to have continuing and meaningful contact with both parents. In other cases, sole physical custody with or without visitation to the other parent may be appropriate. For example, if a parent has a history of domestic violence or abuse, courts may order that all visits with the child be supervised by an approved third party.

What Goes Into a Custody Agreement?

In California, a custody agreement is referred to as a parenting plan. Generally, a parenting plan should cover physical custody (or time-share) and include a detailed schedule for when the child will be with each parent, including: where the child will be for holidays, summer vacations, and special days like birthdays how the child will get from one parent to the other (transitions), and who will pay the costs of transportation.

Your agreement should also cover legal custody and how you will make decisions about your child’s health, education, and welfare including:

-daycare and/or which school(s) the child will attend

-whether the child will practice a certain religion, and

-how decisions about medical and dental care will be made.

If you have questions, speak to a local family law attorney for advice.

The Average Cost of Child Custody Case in California

Each family is unique, and each custody case presents its own specific circumstances, which will play a major role in how long a custody case will take and how much it might cost. When parents agree on all of their custody issues, the total cost will be on the lower end. If parents can’t agree or have a prolonged custody dispute in court, the total cost will be much higher.

While we don’t have specific data on the cost of a custody case in California, we do know that in one survey, readers who had disagreements over child support and/or custody paid an average of $15,500 in total costs—including $13,500 in attorney’s fees and $2,000 in other costs.

Attorney’s fees represent the largest chunk of divorce costs, and attorneys in Los Angeles charge higher hourly rates, so the total cost of custody cases in L.A. will be higher compared to other cities across the nation.

To read more, see Avvo's free legal advice on California child custody.