The Experience You Need To Protect What Matters Most

Someone once described raising a child as "putting your heart in an eggshell and watching it walk away." When a family unit breaks apart, that eggshell cracks, and the results can be emotionally devastating. Often, the most contested issue of a familial separation is determining where the children will live and who has the decision-making power in their lives.

Lawyer Cheryl A. Sena, founder of Sena Family Law in San Francisco, has been handling child custody cases and other family law matters for more than 30 years. She has significant experience litigating complex custody disputes. She also has in-depth mediation and negotiation experience related to the best interests of children. Moreover, she has represented children directly. All of these experiences enable her to develop detailed and highly effective parenting plans.

"As a result of your work, we have taken parenting classes, the children are doing well, and we are both able to spend quality time with our children. I appreciate your willingness to support me, while encouraging me to find a reasonable solution to our situation." -A.K., San Rafael


Custody decisions have the longest lasting effect on the children of the family. Any decision regarding how to take care of one's child can be monumental; no mistakes should be made. Once a custody order is in place it is difficult to change.

While the standard is the "best interest of the child," this standard can be elusive. California's Family Code states that in determining the best interests of the child, the court shall, among other factors, consider all of the following:

  • Status quo
  • Primary parent determination
  • The health, safety and welfare of the child
  • Any history of abuse by one parent or the other
  • The nature and amount of contact with both parents
  • The habitual or continued illegal use of controlled substances
  • The habitual or continued use of alcohol by either parent

In general, the court's goal is to ensure that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated, dissolved their marriage or otherwise ended their relationship. The court also encourages parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing (except where that contact would not be in the best interest of the child).


If you or your children are in danger of physical or verbal abuse, we can help you obtain a restraining order. When confronted with high-conflict situations, or instances where it is not in the children's best interest to spend large amounts of time with one parent, we can and will provide you with the support you need to resolve the situation in a manner that protects your safety and ultimate well-being.

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

Schedule a free initial consultation by calling our child custody attorney today at 415-906-2556. You can also reach us via email.

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