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Articles Posted in Custody and Visitation

What Happens When a Judge Determines Child Custody?

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Divorce can be one of the most challenging experiences of any person’s life, but the process tends to be especially hard on parents. The breakdown of a marriage is one thing, but the breakdown of a family unit raises an entirely new set of concerns and issues that demand thoughtful consideration.

In California, state law dictates that all family court judges must ensure that any divorce involving children preserves those children’s best interests. Regardless of whether divorcing parents intend to go to court or mediate their divorces, the California family court system must approve their parenting plan and ensure safe care, custody, and support for the couple’s children.
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The Consequences of Withholding Visitation Rights

Visitation-RightsVisitation is an important part of any custody agreement. However, it can be difficult to allow your former partner to spend time with your child after having sustained multiple negative experiences with them in the past. In addition to any perceived hostility from the other parent, many situations might make you tempted to withhold visitation, such as attempts by the parent to manipulate your child, failure to pay child support, or even risk of physical or psychological abuse. If the court has already determined that the other parent has visitation rights, withholding visitation is an act of defiance against a standing court order and could result in severe consequences. In fact, the other parent can even accuse you of kidnapping. That’s why it is critical to follow the appropriate legal procedures for your situation instead of simply attempting to withhold visitation rights on your own. A family law attorney can go over the specifics and help you determine the best course of action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your child. Continue reading

Child Custody and Support Outside of Wedlock

Child-Custody-and-Support-Outside-of-WedlockNavigating custody and child support cases is a normal part of course proceedings. If you happen to be an unmarried parent who has newly separated from their partner, you might be wondering if any legal provisions are in place to support you and your child. In 2018, the CDC revealed 39.6% of all births in the United States resulted from relationships outside of wedlock, so this is hardly an unusual situation. However, the information and resources available to parents going through custody-related claims in court are generally focused on situations where the parents were previously in a legally recognized union. Continue reading

Co-Parenting Over the Holidays

Co-ParentingRegardless of your custody arrangement or relationship with your child’s other parent, navigating the intricacies of co-parenting over the holidays can be difficult. Holiday planning is particularly challenging this year due to the ongoing pandemic, which has introduced new obstacles and complications to anything involving travel. However, even during a normal year, the holidays inherently require a lot of work and careful communication for separated parents. Continue reading

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COVID-19 has affected all sectors of the U.S. population.  The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued stay-at-home orders for all residents, with limited exceptions for “essential works.”  In California alone, over 1 million workers have filed for employment benefits.  The San Diego Courthouses have all closed to the public and were only processing temporary restraining orders. As of April 8, 2020, the Superior Courts have expanded their accessibility slightly allowing for limited Ex Parte (emergency) Hearings.  Since the Court’s official closure in mid-March, it is believed the Court has received over 7,000 documents via U.S. Mail. None of these documents have been processed during the closure.  This figure does not account for the presumably high number of Court filings that have been postponed or the number of hearings that were scheduled to occur during the 2 ½ months the Court has been closed.  Those hearings will have to be continued to a date in the future.  So, what can we expect once the Courts are able to re-open in any capacity? Continue reading

AdobeStock_323666821-scaledAlthough a divorce in California could be finalized in as quickly as 6 months, if the former spouses have children together they are stuck with each other for 18 years, and longer!  The truth is that child custody and visitation issues linger long after the final divorce papers are signed.  This is because as children grow older their needs and activities change.  Similarly, throughout the years parents move on with their separate lives and some acquire new jobs or partners.  Due to these factors, a visitation schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the case may not always work for the family a few years later.  This blog will explore how parents can request a modification to the current visitation schedule exercised by their family. Continue reading

The other day I was asked, “Why do I need to pay child support to my ex-wife if we care for our children equally?”  This is a great question that requires some understanding of both California law and public policy.  At first blush it may seem unreasonable and unfair that one parent must pay the other parent child support even though both parents equally care, house, feed, and pay for their children’s livelihood and well-being.

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Let’s start by looking at California Family Code section 4053, which is the statute that provides courts with overarching principals to consider when implementing a child support order.  This statues states, in part, that “a parent’s first and principal obligation is to support the parent’s minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” (emphasis added.)  The statute also states that, “the [child support] guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children” and that “each parent should pay for the support of the children according to the parent’s ability.” (emphasis added.)  The statute also explains that child support “should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes” and that “children should share in the standard of living of both parents.” (emphasis added.) Continue reading

Although a divorce in California could be finalized in as quickly as six months, if the former spouses have children together they are stuck with each other for 18 years, and longer!  The truth is that child custody and visitation issues linger long after the final divorce papers are signed.  AdobeStock_90193560-300x200

This is because as children grow older their needs and activities change.  Similarly, throughout the years parents move on with their separate lives and some acquire new jobs or partners.  Due to these factors, a visitation schedule that was implemented at the beginning of the case may not always work for the family a few years later.  This blog will explore how parents can request a modification to the current visitation schedule exercised by their family.

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It is no secret that the San Diego Family Law Courts are overutilized, overworked, and overbooked.  When a party files a motion with the court it can often take several months, or longer, to get a hearing date!  This can be frustrating for litigants who want to move their case forward towards closure.  But what happens when an emergency comes up in your case and you cannot wait months for a hearing date?  Luckily, there is a procedure and solution to allow the court to hear an emergency issue within a day or two, and that is called an “Ex Parte” hearing.  At an Ex Parte hearing, judges can make temporary emergency orders, when appropriate.

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 5.151(b), “[t]he purpose of a request for emergency orders is to address matters that cannot be heard on the court’s regular hearing calendar….[and] the process is used to request that the court: Continue reading

Often a parent’s biggest concern during a divorce proceeding is what will happen to their children; specifically how custody and visitation will be addressed. shutterstock_524178382-300x150

In the ideal world, parents would be able to agree on a custody and visitation arrangement that is in the best interest of their children, without the need to go to court.  However, if the parents cannot agree on a custody plan then one party, or both, must file a motion with the court to have the judge decide on the issue.

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