Move Away Issues In Child Custody Cases In California Divorces

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmWhen the custodial parent relocates to a different geographical location with the child, the issues that arise are known as ‘move-away cases’. It creates a problem in following the custodial agreements which have been established by the court. In many cases, it is the non-custodial parent who suffers.

Move-away cases are difficult for non-custodial parents because that parent also has equal rights over his/her child. However, there can be many reasons why a move-away case arises. It could be the fault of the custodial parent who wants to create a deliberate distance between the child and the other parent. Or it could be the non-custodial parents fault which has “forced” the custodial parent to relocate to a different place. Move-away issues often has negative impact on the child because parental plans are made after considering different factors of which the child’s mental health is the most important. Except in cases where the non-custodial parent clearly violates the parental agreement, move-away requests can become complicated issues.

Negative impact on child

At the center of a divorce are the children and more than often, they get negatively affected by issues like move-away cases. A California court weighs its child custody decision heavily on the best interests of the children. Children need the attention of both parents when they are growing up. Move-away cases disrupt the arrangement and therefore negatively affects their psyche.

Custody relocation laws

As of now a California court does not prohibit custodial guardians from moving away to a different geographical location. However, there can be special rules which prevent the relocation of custodial parents to a different location without consent from the non-custodial parent or a court order. Custodial parents who want to move to a different location with their children must be aware that to do so, they must first file a request for order for an order allowing a move-away with the California court which will be litigated.

Conclusion

Move-away cases happen after the custodial parent seeks to relocate to a different place with the child. It sometimes affects both the child and the non-custodial parent.  Non-custodial parents should ensure that such issues are clearly mentioned in the parental plan.  Do not just move away without consent or a court order first, or you could be ordered to return your children to the other parent.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Are The Kids Suffering In A Failed Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several divorcees who refer to themselves as “victims” while they were married, particularly if abuse was a reason for getting divorced from their spouses. Abuse does not only include domestic violence but it also includes a horrifying phase of dictatorship and dominance while being married. Only when there was an end to the marriage that these spouses regard themselves to be free. However, what happens when the abused now realizes that their kids are also being subject to the same sort of behavior?

Time and again, it has been seen that the courts would like to ensure that the children should be in touch with both their parents, of course for the best interests of the latter. However, there are some cases the result may be not so good since there are tales of abuse or neglect. The question is what should a suspecting parent then do?

Do not be quick to draw conclusions

If your kid shows symptoms of being neglected or being abused, it is crucial to be composed. Though, this is easier said than done since false assumptions can just aggravate the situation. Only because a spouse was abused by his or her ex-partner does not necessarily mean that the kids are being targeted now.

There are cases where a child may express unhappiness in seeking attention or to manipulate the existing situation.

Trust their gut feelings

A parent should contemplate the subtle signs that hint towards child abuse. A divorced parent should never ignore their instincts. Abused and divorced parents have already gone through abuses in the hands of their former spouses and so they have a fair idea of those symptoms. When parents separate, kids may respond differentk0ly. A divorce may not know about the kid getting nightmares all of a sudden, wetting bed or performing badly in academics may be the outcomes of being abused or separation.

Get in touch with an expert

If the child is really being abused, it may not be a wise idea to handle the situation all alone. Rather consult those people whose expertise will be helpful. There are several divorce lawyers who also specialize in matters related to child custody. So, since the safety of the child is at stake, such parents should approach those attorneys who deal with cases related to child protection services. However, there is no such assurance that such cases will come out with proofs of abused. An experienced lawyer has the necessary expertise to channelize a case towards instant action.

However, all child-related issues may not necessarily mean abuse or neglect. Both the parents are equally responsible for upholding and working in their children’s best interests. In the case of child abuse, what matters most is to trust the gut feelings and get help before things get worse.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Child Custody Issues For Gay Couples

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Gay marriage domestic partnership attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmSame-sex couples now enjoy most if not all of the benefits that heterosexual couples do. Marriages have now become legal for gay couples and so has adopting children. However, the question of whether gay partners can be good parents or not is not an issue.  Research has established that being good parents has nothing to do with gender.

Like every other couple, homosexual couples have their problems too and sometimes it ends up in a divorce. Divorce laws are the same for homosexual couples as it is for heterosexual couples.  But custody battles can be more complicated than other issues.

If one is the biological parent

If one of the partners is the biological parent of the child, then chances are high that custody will be granted to that parent. It is also the case for heterosexual child custody cases. It is regarded that biological parents have more right over the child than other individuals. Also, the second parent is not expected to pay anything financially to either the child or the partner. And visitation rights also differ. In most cases, the other parent is not allowed to have any visitation rights but this can be changed depending upon what the legal guardian wants.

If none of them are related to the child

If none of the partners are biologically related to the child and have gained parenthood through adoption, then the laws are the same as it is for heterosexual couples. But again, in terms of emotional attachment, it becomes either of the parents to part ways with the child. It holds true for both partners and often, it makes custody cases difficult. In California, the child’s preference is considered and custody is awarded to the parent who is more deserving.

Conclusion

Child custody issues are an important part of divorce and in some cases, it can be a complicated one. Especially when the child belongs to homosexual parents. Custody depends a lot on the biological relationship with the child. If either of the parents are related to the child, then chances are high that custody will be awarded to that parent. However, if none of them are related, then both have equal rights to get custody.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Parenting Plans for Non-Parents Granted Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the most important issues of divorce cases is the issue of child custody. Often, parents who can’t agree on a common ground, have bitter child custody battles. It not only leads to psychological issues in the child and parents but it also destroys the relationship between the three people. Sometimes, child custody is awarded to a third party like grandparents or any close relative. Who the child goes to depends on the relationship he/she shares with the child and whether the child enjoys that relationship or not. Because in California, a child’s preference is considered over everything else.

If you’ve just been granted in a custody case and you’re not the biological parent, then here are some of the parenting plans which you should keep in mind.

  1. Take care of finances

In your parenting plan, this should be the number one thing. You must keep separate finances for the child’s future and education. Because you never know what tomorrow has in store for either of you. This becomes important in cases where the child had poor parents or who weren’t making substantial amount of money.

  1. Take care of psychological issue

Trauma and other psychological issues are common in children who go through a parent’s divorce. You must ensure that the child under your care is not exposed to nay more trauma. Avoid any discussion that involves his/her parent’s divorce. Spent more time, have fun and enjoy yourselves.

  1. Keep visiting hours for parents

Despite how their relationship might have been when they were together, it’s important for you to keep visiting hours for the parents. The child should not completely lose contact with his/her biological parents. Even if the parent is in jail or a psychiatry hospital, it’s still important that he/she sees his/her parent.

Child custody cases are important issues and need to be dealt with seriously. Child custody battles can sometimes turn ugly and both parents might end up losing custody. In such cases, the custody goes to a third party. For third party parents, a parental plan is equally important as it would have been for the biological parents. A parental plan will ensue that the child is taken care of in the best way possible. Along with other important things, the plan should include finances and visiting hours for the biological parents.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Protecting Children During A Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe worst part about a divorce is that it affects more than just two people. Couples who have children understand how difficult a divorce proceeding becomes once their children become involved. The biggest dilemma is that you can’t tell them directly and you can’t ignore them either. Moreover, different kids react differently and then there is their age that needs to be considered. Handling and protecting children should be the number one priority for parents in a divorce. In California, a child’s preference is given importance when making decisions related to custody.

Keep things normal

It’s tough to act normal when you know you’re heading for a sure-shot divorce but do it for the sake of the kids. Or at least when your kids are around, make sure that you don’t break into arguments and fights. Children are highly prone to mental trauma and the worst part is sometimes you won’t even know that are suffering from mental stress.

Don’t divide the children

You might be heading for a separation but your children are not. It’s true that your children will stay with only one of you but that does not mean they should get the feeling that they have been separated too. Keep things amicable between you and your partner and create a good plan of action.

Protect them

Protecting your children both emotionally and financially should be your primary duty as a parent. Create a good child support plan and discuss visiting times with your partner. Make sure both of you agree to the same plan and stick to it. Try meeting as a family and go out together as much as you can.

Agree on the custody rights

Custody rights is an important issue and you must discuss it with your spouse before you go ahead with the divorce proceeding. It will be easier for the both of you if you know the result of the custody battle before the separation takes place.

Conclusion

Children are an important issue when it comes to divorce because a bad divorce causes stress and mental trauma on the young minds. As parents, it becomes your duty to protect your children from harm. Discuss issues like custody, visitation hours and child support with your partner before you decide to go ahead with the divorce. Work out a common plan which both of you are comfortable following. It will save your children from unnecessary damage.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How To Be A Good Single Father

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

fathers rights attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmIf being a single mother is tough, being a single father is never an easy thing either. Many people think that fathers who get divorced can easily go back to their routine before they were married. But it’s not true. After becoming a father, the lifestyle and mentality of a man changes. Especially, if he’s handling kids. Most fathers who have kids need to balance time between his job and family. It becomes tough and so, here are few tips that will help fathers become better parents in the long run.

  1. Create a good schedule

For working fathers, scheduling is the most important thing. They should discuss the issue with their boss and work out a routine which includes sufficient time for both the job and kids. They can work during the time when the kids are with their mother. It should be mentioned in the parental plan and the mother must agree to the arrangement. It will help fathers create a good work-life balance.

  1. Get help

Some men like doing everything on their own but they should keep in mind that becoming an efficient father is the goal, not becoming an efficient worker. It’s alright to seek the help of near and dear ones when needed. They need someone to take care of the kids when he or his ex. is not around to help.

  1. Get organized

For fathers who are not taking care of their kids, things might look easy but be assured that it’s not. More than often, such fathers will be tempted to go back to their old ways but they should refrain from doing so. Moreover, they should keep their life organized so that they don’t suffer from emotional problems. There must be specific timings and specific order for doing everything.

  1. Teach kids

A child’s development depends on what he/she learns from the parents. Single fathers should utilize the time they spend with their kids to teach them about different things. It is one of the best ways in which a single father can make use of the time he has.

Conclusion

It’s not easy being a single father especially when someone is juggling between work and family. However, there are ways in which an individual can become an efficient father. Creating a good parental plan and spending quality time with the kids works best and helps fathers make the best of it.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Relocating & Modifying Custody and Visitation in California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmRelocation is something that everybody experiences at least once in their lives and it’s something that can happen even to a divorced parent.  There could be a range of reasons why a divorced parent might relocate with their kids. They might simply want a change of scene or move closer to friends and family.

However, relocation can cause problems for the non-custodial parent, especially in the visitation/custody side of things.

When to File

The non-custodial parent can file for modification at any time. The court may deem such a modification necessary if it is in line with the child’s best interests. The parent must be able to indicate a “significant change of circumstances” to support the request for modification.

However, all said and done, it is still not that easy to modify primary custody. In most cases, the primary order is seen as correct. However, there are certain conditions under which this can be challenged.

For starters, modification can be sought, as mentioned earlier, if it is in the child’s best interest. Here, best interests can encompass a range of factors. One of the key factors usually considered is contact with both parents and family stability.

Even the child’s preference can be considered by the courts. In fact, California does not follow an age cut-off rule like other states. So, the child’s age will not be a major hindrance. However, the judge’s own interpretation may play a role here. Most judges tend to ignore the opinions of children aged below 7.

Another factor that plays a role here includes co-parenting skills. Judges generally don’t side with a parent who is unwilling or unable to help the child build a healthy relationship with the non-custodial parent. So, there is hope if it can be proven that the relocation was done to get away from the non-custodial parent.

Get in Touch with a Lawyer

Though achievable, the modification of a child custody/visitation order can be a tricky process. So, the best way to move forward is to get in touch with a lawyer who is experienced in such matters.  An experienced lawyer can guide you on how to go about this.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

Tips for Preparing for Child Custody in California Court

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIt is in the best interests of both the spouses and their kids to try for an out of court custody settlement without bitterness or complications while getting divorced in California. After all, you would not want to make things even messier while parting from your partner.

Here are some of those handy tips to prepare for a child custody case if the negotiations on your out of court settlement fail:

  • List down all those witnesses who could be summoned when your case goes to trial.
  • You should follow the orders of the court thoroughly with respect to issues related to your kids, no matter what your spouse is doing.
  • Maintain all the details related to the communications related to issues related to child custody along with the timesharing details.
  • In case your child is not living with you, it is recommended that you personally pick or drop them, every time you meet them.
  • You need to collect sufficient evidence for proving your case of child custody.
  • If possible, try to review the style of your parenting so that it can be improved. –Often the judges make their decisions on visitation and child custody, looking at what is best for your children. It has been observed for instance that when the kids have been staying with their mom since the time their parents separated, judges usually like to maintain status quo for the interests of the kids.
  • You need to behave in a responsible manner so that your kids are safe and away from all types of harm. Is your spouse abusing your children? If that is the case, you need to consult agencies or professionals who are experts in dealing with handling cases of child abuse. Such professionals have the necessary expertise and experience to appreciate your predicament as they are skilled to deal with domestic violence and are the right kind of people who have the capability of safeguarding your kids when the divorce proceeding is going on and also after your divorce.
  • It is a sensible decision to consult an experienced attorney who has the expertise to deal with disputes related to child custody in California.
  • You need to be completely honest with the attorney about your present lifestyle and personal history.
  • If you are unaware about the process of dispute related to child custody, request your attorney to explain it to you.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

What Role does a Child’s Opinion Play in Contested Custody Cases?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

family law attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmWhen a parent couple decides to get divorced, one of the biggest worries is around child custody. In the event that they fail to arrive at a mutual agreement on their own, the court will have to intervene in the matter and the judge would take a decision on initial custody. This implies that at least in the beginning, the court will decide where the child lives and the division of visitation and custody between the two partners.

The U.S. court system is often faced with the challenge of protecting the best interests of a child in high-conflict custody cases. However, lawyers and psychologists have been working together in order to better support the children’s well-being in such situations.

When there is isn’t any visible harm or disadvantage to the child, a court may decide to stay with the pre-existing living arrangements for the child, especially if he/she is fairly young. For instance, if the child has been staying with the mother since the time of separation, the court may decide to make that a permanent arrangement (unless it is proved to have a negative impact on the well-being of the child).

Are the child’s wishes important?

When the contested custody case involves slightly older children, especially teenagers, courts would also give consideration to the child’s opinion. In fact, it is important for the court to duly consider the opinion of a child with “sufficient age and capacity”.

In some cases, the wishes of children as young as 7 or 8 years have also been acknowledged by courts.

It isn’t necessary for courts to interview a child in order to comprehend his/her wishes in a contested custody case. Sometimes, the court might depend on the report submitted by the mediator about their interaction with the child. Alternatively, the minor’s counsel may have made certain statements which could be helpful in analyzing the child’s wishes. Irrespective of the age or capacity of a child, the court isn’t obligated to agree to their wishes. But due consideration is important in certain cases.

How does the court decide whether or not to consider a child’s opinion?

There are usually two circumstances under which the court considers it important to give weight to a child’s opinion in a contested custody case:

  • If it is in the best interest of the child to express his/her preference and also testify it.
  • If the court thinks that the child is of a suitable age to have an intelligent preference. Usually children who are 14 years or above are allowed to express their preferences.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How Does Having a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm If there are children involved in a divorce and there is a battle over which spouse gets custody of the child or children, then either spouse having a criminal past or record can lower or even completely eliminate their chances of getting joint/shared or sole custody of the child. Also, one spouse can use the past criminal record or history of the other spouse to eliminate their chances of child custody and even rights of visitation. This is permitted by state laws in California under certain legal provisions, hence it is vital that the spouse with the criminal past hire a professional divorce lawyer to help fight his/her case.

Best interests of the child

Section 3011 of the California family code deals with the best interest standard. This section basically deals with what the family or civil courts take into consideration while determining the terms of child custody. One of the main factors that the courts consider is what is in the best interest of the child. So if one spouse has been engaged in criminal activities or conduct in the past this would be a major detrimental factor to the courts while determining which spouse should get custody of the child. The family courts will consider the following factors while determining child custody:

  • Whether either spouse has had a history of domestic abuse or violence towards any child that he is related to by blood, or an adopted child or any other child that is under their care and supervision.
  • Whether the spouse has been violent with or has shown violent behavior towards the other spouse.
  • Whether the spouse has a history of alcohol abuse or any kind of substance abuse.
  • Whether the spouse has a history of criminal activities or malpractices or any kind of criminal conduct or behavior in the past.

The court will carefully consider all these factors while determining which spouse will be granted custody of the child. The above factors also help to determine what would be best for the child and the child’s best interests are always put first to ensure his safety, happiness and good future.

A past history of criminal conduct would include any felonies and misdemeanors that fall under any of the categories mentioned in section 3011 of the Family Code. Custody and visitation rights would be affected based on the type and severity of the offense, time elapsed since the commission of the offense and expungment of the offense. These offenses include sex and hate crimes, child abuse, etc. The more serious or violent the offense the higher the likelihood of the spouse losing custody or visitation rights.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

 
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