Family Law Office of Mark A. Erickson Attorney At Law
Certified Family Law Specialist

Child Custody

How are child custody and visitation issues resolved?

Ideally, parents going through a dissolution of marriage will be able to reach an agreement on child sharing arrangements that work for both the parents and the children. When parents cannot agree, the law requires the parents to participate in mediation. Parents may hire a private mediator from outside the court system or, in Santa Clara County, the court provides mediation at the courthouse through Family Court Services. If an agreement is reached through mediation, it is put in writing and filed with the court as an enforceable court order.

When parents are not able to agree upon a child custody and visitation order following mediation, they proceed to a child custody assessment or evaluation. This is a process where the parties either agree upon using a qualified mental health professional or the court refers the parties to Family Court Services for a qualified mental health professional to conduct an investigation and prepare written recommendations to resolve the child custody dispute. The standard for the assessor/evaluator is the same standard used by the court in contested proceedings, namely the best interests of the child or children.In making recommendations or a decision concerning child custody, the child's health, safety, welfare, and issues of abuse or domestic violence must be considered. Each parent is entitled to at least have reasonable visitation with a child, unless it is determined that such visitation would be detrimental to the child.


" Mark took my case, which was a tough one, to litigate a contentious child custody trial--which ended up going for 17 courtroom days! I had another family lawyer prior to trial, but I felt I needed an attorney with Mark's experience, smarts, and toughness for the courtroom. Mark was fantastic"
Sabrina S, client