Certified Family Law Specialist Attorney
Orange County Child Custody Attorney

Child Custody Lawyer in Huntington Beach serving all of Orange County

Barb McNamara is an experienced child custody attorney serving Orange County and surrounding communities. She provides assistance with visitation and parenting plans.

Your children mean everything to you. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do to make sure they are healthy, happy and safe. Orange County child custody lawyer
But now your relationship with your spouse has ended, and you’re worried about the impact the separation will have on them.
What’s even more frightening is thinking:
  • “Will my children be taken from me?”
  • “If they don’t live with me, how often will I be able to see them?”
  • “Will I still be able to make decisions about their welfare?”
  • These are most likely the types of questions that have you tossing and turning at night.
As a certified family law attorney in Orange County, California, I can help you determine a custody plan that you and your children can  feel comfortable with. Whether you decide to file for sole or joint custody, I will advocate on your behalf in court or during mediation.
The last thing you want during this time of change is a long-drawn out custody battle. I’ll do my best to make sure this doesn’t happen. My job is to handle the legal proceedings while allowing you to focus on the current needs of your family. You and your children deserve a swift and fair resolution that allows you to move forward with this new chapter in your lives.
For over 18 years, I have helped families reach mutually beneficial custody arrangements and provided worthwhile recommendations on appropriate parenting plans and time-sharing options.

Child Custody Lawyer Huntington Beach, CA

Let’s get started on developing a plan for your family’s future. Call me today (714) 740-2542  for a consultation.  

What Type of Custody Do I Want?

In the state of California, there are two forms of child custody orders: Legal and Physical. In all custody cases, the Family Court has the discretion to order a custody and visitation plan that is in “the best interest of the child” (California Family Code §3040(a).)

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the parent or parents who will be making the decisions OC child custody lawyer
regarding your children’s health, education, and overall welfare. For instance, who will decide which pediatrician or dentist they go to? Will they attend private or public school? Which extracurricular activities will they participate in?

“Sole Legal Custody”

If you file for “sole legal custody” you are asking the court to appoint you to be the ONLY person allowed to make these decisions. Your former spouse will not be able to intervene in such matters without your consent.

“Joint Legal Custody”

If you file for “joint legal custody” this means that you are agreeing to share the right and responsibility to make decisions about your children’s welfare with your former spouse.

In the vast majority of cases in California, the judge will rule in favor of “joint legal custody” in order to guarantee that the children will have contact with both parents on an ongoing basis.

However, if there is a situation in which one parent is not involved in the child’s life at all, resides in another state, or is “unfit” due to domestic violence, substance abuse, or other crimes, “sole custody” would be awarded to the other parent.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines with whom the children will live with the majority of the time.

“Sole Physical Custody”

If you feel strongly about having your child live with you exclusivelyOC-custody-lawyer, then you would file for “sole physical custody.” A parent will most likely choose this option if they believe an alternative living arrangement is unsafe or unhealthy and generally not in the best interests of the children.

“Joint Physical Custody”

“Joint physical custody” refers to a situation in which both you and your former spouse agree to share 50/50 responsibility for your children’s living arrangements. In this instance, both of you and/or the courts will determine a schedule that benefits your children.

Can My Child Choose Who They Want To Live With?

According to California Family Code 3042, the court will consider the wishes of the children if they are of an emotionally mature age with a capacity to reason.

If you have children that are 14 years old or older and they would like to address the court regarding custody or visitation, they may do so, unless it is considered not in their best interests. 

However, there is nothing in this section of the amendment that states children younger than 14 can’t address the court.

Visitation/Parenting Plan

Child Visitation is referred to as a “custody and visitation agreement” or a “time-share,” essentially a parenting plan that includes how to share time with the children as well as how to make decisions about their health, education, and welfare.

Types of Visitation 

Schedule Based — this type of visitation provides a child with a structured routine, detailing the times he/she will spend with each parent. These schedules also include holidays, vacations and special occasions (birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day).Lawyer for custody issue in Orange County
Reasonable Visitation — this type of visitation is more open-ended and allows the parents more flexibility to decide what works with each of their schedules.
Supervised Visitation — this type of visitation is used when the child’s safety and well-being requires there to be someone else present: either yourself, another adult you trust, or a professional agency.

No Visitation — in this instance, it is best that the child has no contact with the parent. It has been determined that this person would be physically or emotionally harmful to the child, even if supervised.


Parenting Plan

The Parenting Plan is a very important document that you and your partner will write together in order to establish a list of “family rules” to abide by. By agreeing to a certain set of guidelines/responsibilities it enables you to avoid conflicts with one another in the future.

Try to be as thorough as possible — kids need consistency and structure. No one knows your children better than both of you. When creating the plan, make sure to take your children’s ages, personalities, and sensibilities into consideration.

Some things to include:Attorney for child custody help in Orange County

  • Daily routines
  • Healthy diet
  • Transportation
  • Medical care
  • Bed time routines
  • Disciplinary Style
  • Introducing new relationships
  • Religion
  • Education


 I can help you outline a parenting plan that can be submitted to the court for approval that supports your parenting beliefs and wishes, in order to ensure that your children have stability whether they are spending time with you or your ex-spouse.


What is a Custody Mediation?

If you and your former spouse simply cannot agree on custody or parenting time prior to going to court, then barb-child-custody-jpgboth of you are required by California law to attend custody mediation. An unbiased court mediator who is skilled in the areas of psychology, social work, or child and family counseling will “mediate” discussions with the end goal of getting you both to reach a compromise that is in the best interests of your children.
While child custody and other family law issues can be overwhelming, you don’t have to let them take over your life. I can help you manage the legal aspects of what will happen to your children during a divorce, so you can focus on what is really important – your family. Call me today for a consultation: (714) 740-2542.
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Helped me through a difficult time and made my interactions with the legal system as pleasant as possible through my very tedious divorce...
Helped me through a difficult time and made my interactions with the legal system as pleasant as possible through my very tedious divorce...
My name is Cheryl Stack and I work for Chapman University in Orange, California. I have been employed with Chapman for twenty three years. Attorney Barbara McNamara was referred to me by the law offices of Aitkin, Aitkin and Cohn in September 2011. I was the victim of a harassment/stalking situation for over one year and was seeking legal assistance to get the female perpetrator to stop. At the time of my first meeting with Barbara, I had filed two police reports with the City of Orange Police department. I had also met with another attorney prior to meeting Barbara. After our first initial......
Barbara McNamara was recommended to me by a co-worker who had seen her in action while waiting for his case to be heard. My friend did not have representation at the time and was fine with that–until he saw Barbara. He said she was a TIGER in the courtroom! I took his advice and retained Barbara as my attorney. Barbara had her game face on when I met her and it was awesome! She had an intensity when listening to me talk, I knew she was totally engaged with what I had to say. Barbara laid it on the line and gave her candid opinion, which I appreciated and still appreciate. We.....
I would recommend Ms. McNamara because I believe she’s an attorney who is there for the child’s best interest. Plus, when it came to returning phone calls they were in 24 hours or less and great at replying to emails. Thank you for your help and patience throughout my trial. Thank you, Barbara! –A. Esparza
Ms. McNamara was incredibly helpful and professional in working on my case. I worked with another attorney on my case, however he did not perform as expected. I then hired Ms McNamara and she was courteous and forthright, and helped me in every aspect of my case. Ms. McNamara helped me through a difficult time and made my interactions with the legal system as pleasant as possible through my very tedious divorce. Ms. McNamara was prompt in returning phone calls and communicated with me through every step of the way. I highly recommend her services to all my family and.....
I would definitely recommend Barbara to anyone considering going through the divorce process. I’ve been more than pleased with Barbara’s organization and knowledge of family law. She was very professional, and yet approachable, easy to talk with, and sincere. As family law counsel, I found her tenacious and addressing all of my needs to settle my divorce in a timely and fair manner. My entire divorce went smoothly thanks to Atty. Barbara McNamara’s legal expertise, guidance and support. It was comforting to know someone who I could fully trust. I sincerely appreciate everything.....
My former wife and I received expert professional legal guidance and counseling throughout our divorce process. Ms. McNamara is very familiar with family law and knew the judges and judicial process very well, which made the entire process painless and efficient. –name confidential