The “Right of First Refusal” Concept In California Custody Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe “Right of First Refusal” concept in California divorces awards the holder the option to undertake responsibility of the child in the absence of the other spouse. What is means is that after a legal custody battle one parent can take care of the child during the time that has been allotted for the other parent. The right of first refusal allows parents to take responsibility of child care instead of awarding it to a third party.

The right of first refusal has two advantages. First, the child is not put into the hands of a third party. Second, the costs for paying the third-party care provider is also avoided.

When can the right be exercised

Parents who are unavailable to take care of their children for more than 12 hours must notify the other parent prior to the unavailability. It gives the other parent plenty of time to consider the decision. It the other parent refuses to be present at the mentioned time, it becomes the custodial parent’s duty to look for an alternative care for his/her child.

For the right of first refusal to become actionable, the determination of the period of time is very important. However, since there is no perfect time frame which decides the right, it depends from case to case. It’s a good idea to include a divorce lawyer during such matters.

One of the most important factor for exercising the right of first refusal is geography. For the right to take place, parents need to stay close to each other. If the distance is too long, the right may not be of too much help.

When can it be misused

There have been instances where the right of first refusal has been misused. If you have not enjoyed a good relationship with your spouse, then he/she may not agree to your offer. During tight knit custody battles, such rights can make a lot of difference in custody preferences.

Conclusion

A divorce affects children badly. It has negative psychological effects which can become physical if ignored. Custody battles are tough and the state of California has laws to make sure the child spends equal amount of time with each parent. The right of first refusal was created to provide temporary custody to the other parent in the absence of the first one. It helps avoid the involvement of third parties and keeps the matter between the two 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.  

Top 3 Ways To Keep Your Kids Happy Even After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmMost divorced couples, as well as divorce experts, would agree that kids get highly affected by the conflict between their parents after the latter are divorced. It is interesting to note that kids are not harmed by their parents’ divorce, rather the onus lies on those parents who do not give first priority to their kids during the divorce. As parents, it is your responsibility to do the best for your kids after the divorce comes through so that they do not turn into collateral victims. Are you a worried parent who does not want your divorce to cause a negative impact on the kids or minimize them as possible? Here are some of those things to take care of such an issue.

Try to put yourself in your kids’ shoes

Never be under the illusion that your children are related when they get to know that their father or mother are in love again or are dating a new person or love going out with their friends.  Things simply do not function that way. As a loving parent, your happiness should depend on how satisfied your children are. It should never work in a reverse way. After all kids are narcissistic in nature, which means they are more bothered about their own happiness and requirements. It is not your kid’s lookout how happy you are in your personal life.

Both the parents should try to have a healthy relationship after their divorce

Both the parents have a special and individual influence in the lives of their children. Your children gave got a better chance to grow up as healthy adults when they get the company of both their parents. So, it is extremely crucial for the kids of the divorced parents to get equal time to spend with both their parents. It is quite likely that you are not quite fond of your gourmet spouse now but that does not mean your kids will stop loving their other parent. When you love your kids above everyone else, make sure that all their requirements are fulfilled despite your not so cordial relationship with your ex.

Try to let go of the feeling that you are superior to the other parent

It is possible that your former spouse abused you or cheated on you. However, what is more, crucial is whether they treat your kids well or not. When they love the children despite their shortcomings and your children feel secure and respected with their other parents, you should not be judgmental.

Finally, kids can be victims when it is a question of their parents getting divorced. They do not have any voice in the decisions taken by you and your spouse regarding the marriage breakup. It is imperative that they have some sort of control over how they should live. You can be their best parents by fulfilling their emotional needs even after the divorce is finalized.

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.  

The Role Of Parents & Grandparents In California Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County family law attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIn 2000, a landmark decision was passed regarding custody and visitation rights of grandparents after the Troxel vs. Granville case. The Court in that case ruled that when it comes to child custody, parents have the upper hand because they are the primary caregiver. However, minor children are also allowed to spent time with their grandparents and it depends upon the decision of the parents.

Parents are given more preference

In cases where both parents and grandparents are involved in custodial battles, the court gives more preference to parents. Also, more significance is given to a parent’s objections regarding visitations by grandparents. California courts believe that since children spent the majority of their time with parents, it makes the parents responsible for what their child does. But that does not mean that children should be kept away from grandparents. Building an amicable relationship with every member of the family should be the goal.

Grandparents can get custody too

Despite what the court orders are, there are always cases where grandparents have got the custody of their grandkids. This usually happens when the parent is either convicted of a crime or is unable to provide for the child. In cases where domestic abuse or child abuse is involved, grandparents may win custody battles. Even in cases where there is serious disruption of parental custody or physical unavailability of parents for long durations, grandparents are given the custody of their grandkids.

The role of grandparents during child custody

In general, grandparents play an important role in a family especially in the lives of grandchildren. Grandparents should guide parents when they want to get a divorce or they want to get married again. They should be supportive but at the same time unafraid to talk about the negative consequences.

During child custody and visitation, grandparents should be able to tell the court why their presence is important. They should clearly identify areas in the child’s development where they play an important role.

Conclusion

Parents and grandparents are both important for child custody and visitation. However, after 2000, California courts award custody of children to parents unless some serious crime is involved. The role of both parents and grandparents must be distinct and each should know their importance in a child’s life. The best resolution would be to allow grandparents to become an integral part of the children’s life while parents continue to maintain their 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.  

How To Make Visitation Easier After Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorney; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce can be a chaotic stage in a couple’s life, full of upheaval, changes, and uncertainty. Additionally, when there are children in the marriages, things can be quite tough on them. If you want to make things easier and smoother for them as a parent, both you and your former spouse should collaborate in a manner to ensure that there are no hiccups in the visitation process. Divorce experts will vouch for it that parenting the kids is the most crucial task for you as a parent. So, if you and the other parent can work out things in a harmonious manner, it is possible to avoid negative, lasting and long effects on the kids.

As parents, you should demonstrate a united front so that your children feel relaxed and confident during such a trying time. Check out some of the ideas and thoughts to make sure that your child visits are a positive experience for everybody.

Be quick and punctual

It is important to be there and always be punctual with your kids These gestures will exhibit that these visits to your children are extremely precious for you. After all, kids need an assurance time and again that they are vital for you. Hence concentrate solely on them whenever you are in their company. During these visits, you should also reinforce through your actions or words that your children are your top most priority. How about spending some quality time with them by going for a bike ride with them or playing a game together? Do not focus on your text messages and emails while you are visiting your children.

Always try to be positive

Show enthusiasm whenever you discuss your next visit with them. Your plans should not get spoiled or overshadowed just because you have differences with the other parent. It may also help when you are aware of what activities the kids love doing while being with the other parent.

Stop arguing with your former spouse in front of your kids

Children may get upset when they see their parents arguing and calling names, particularly during pickup or drop off time. After all, visitation is such an occasion where you should solely focus on your little ones. Thus, it is essential for both the parents to ensure that the pickup and drop off times are pleasant and tension-free. You should try discussing your differences at a different time so that the process is a smooth one for all. Fix up meetings for discussing contentious matters with your ex-spouse or you can even hire a mediator to conduct your adult conversations in an amicable manner.

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 To Know About Child Custody Mediation In California

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmGetting a divorce can have an adverse effect on your kid(s) if the situation is not taken care of properly. Child custody mediation gives you an opportunity to resolve any issues you might be having while drawing up a parenting plan for your child. A mediator’s role is to ensure that things are smooth between both parties without having a bad effect on the child. If the parents are ready with a plan, a mediator makes sure that the plan is presented to the court in a written format which can be used for custody and visiting order.

Developing plans

A parenting plan or a custody and visitation agreement is a written agreement stating the amount of time a child will spend with each parent. The parenting plan turns into a court order when it gets signed by both parents. If you are heading for a divorce or have already decided on one, and if you have a child, do take the time out to talk to your partner about the best possible parenting plan. Things like love and care, health, education and rest should be the top priorities for your child.

Plans for children of different ages

Children of different ages react differently to divorce and separation. Some can be too young (<5 years) to fully comprehend the effect. It can lead to sudden emotional outbursts or might fetch no reaction at all. Similarly, for children who are old enough to understand what a divorce means will take it differently. There is no hard and fast rule that you can follow. The only good way to go about this is to make sure your plan does not neglect your child’s need. If they are big, talk to them and tell them your plans. And if possible, give them time to cope up with the entire situation.

California child custody laws

There are different custody laws for different states and California is no different. To summarize, basically what happens is that a child custody attorney will sit down with you and your partner. The attorney will evaluate the case and focus on facts like family history, child abuse or neglect and your relationship with your child. Things like health, safety, education and welfare is considered and after a thorough investigation a decision will be taken.

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.

Steps Involved In Child Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmWhen you get divorced and need to sort out custody for your children, child custody mediation is usually the least stressful way to handle custody agreements. Unless your ex-spouse is an unfit parent for your children, try as much as you can to settle custody through mediation rather than dragging your family, and your children, through the heart wrenching agony of a bitter custody trial.

If you’re unsure of what mediation might look like, day-to-day, read on to find out.

When you decide on mediation, you, your attorney, your ex-spouse, and their attorney decide to come to a custody agreement in the presence of a divorce mediator instead of a judge.

When preparing for mediation proceedings, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney, write out detailed schedules for your child, draft a custody agreement and visitation proposal, and make sure that you have all the documents you need concerning your child. Your attorney will be able to advice you regarding those documents.

Mediation processes usually follow a set of steps that are fairly standard—you meet with the mediator, figure out the issues that require mediation, discuss a custody agreement draft with your ex-spouse while making required changes throughout the process, and then sign the agreement.

When in mediation, you should discuss the following issues:

  • Figure out regular custody and visitation—are you going to share custody or not? Will the child remain with one parent most of the time? What does visitation look like?
  • Once you arrive at a custody situation, start defining the parameters and the boundaries of the time you have with your kids. Where will your kids spend specific holidays or school vacations? Can one parent take the child on long vacations? Under what circumstances can changes be made to the current visitation schedule? Also, this is the time to figure out how you can go about changing the custody agreement on a permanent basis if required.
  • The other important issue you need to discuss concerns the raising of your children. Discuss things like schools, activities, religious training, medical care, dental and vision care, sports, etc. Figure out who wants to be involved where, and make it happen. Also figure out how you’ll split costs for things like college or private school, or even emergency medical care if required.
  • If you run into problems or disagree with each other, listen to the mediator and try and arrive at an amicable solution. Compromise, because the other party will compromise as well, and ultimately, this will benefit your children.

Once the agreement is drafted and signed, you can and should expect your ex-spouse to honor 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.

So What Happens After Court-Ordered Custody Mediation?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIt is believed that court-ordered child custody mediation at the court helps warring parents reach an agreement regarding issues of child custody and visitation rights. The mediator, keeping the best interests of the child in mind, helps you to come up with a parenting plan on the various issues.

Full agreement – If complete agreement has been reached on all issues, both the parents will have to sign a written agreement prepared by the mediator. When it gets approved by the court, it becomes an official court order.

Partial agreement- If the parties are only able to agree on some but not all of the issues, the mediator can draft up an agreement on those issues and list out the issues that still remain to be decided by the court.

No agreement – If the parties involved (the parents) are not able to find the middle ground, the mediator’s work is essentially done in Orange County custody cases.  That is because Orange County is not a “reporting” county.  However, in “reporting” counties like Riverside County and San Bernardino counties, the mediator can make custody recommendations and proposed custody orders for the court to consider at the hearing.  So in those counties, if you do not agree to the recommendations made by the mediator, you will have to give your reasons to the judge during a court hearing. The judge will be interested to know the specific reasons.

Court hearing – A court hearing will be necessary if the recommendations are not acceptable (in reporting counties) or the parents have not been able to resolve their disputes or if one of the parents changed their mind after first coming to an agreement in court.  If all issues have been resolved, a court hearing is not required as long as the mediation agreement is incorporated into a written Stipulation & Order that is signed by both parties and then filed with the court.

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.  

Understanding Orange County Mandatory Custody Mediation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIn Orange County, court-ordered custody mediation at the courthouse needs to be carried out when the parents are in dispute regarding issues of visitation and custody before the matter can proceed to a hearing. It generally occurs when one parent wants a change in the custody or visitation order and the other parent does not agree.

Mediation is done to help negotiate between the parents. A mental health professional acts as a mediator who assists in the negotiations to help the parents reach an agreement.

Preparing for court-ordered custody mediation at the court is important and its is necessary to know a few things before the session.

Appointments – The Family Court Services will set you a date and time for when you will have to meet your mediator. You will be guided through the parent orientation program which offers suggestions and advice regarding co-parenting.

If one party misses the scheduled appointment and the other party is present, then the counseling will take place as scheduled. Because the time period between the counseling and the court hearing is so short, it becomes very difficult to reschedule an appointment. If both parties do not attend the mediation, the session will get canceled but will need to be rescheduled before the parties can appear in front of the judge at the hearing. Valid reasons for missing the appointment will have to be provided.

Confidentiality – All communications related to Court-ordered custody mediation kept strictly confidential by all parties involved. Also, no party can communicate with the mediator without the presence or knowledge of the other parties any time before or after the appointment.

Form filling – A completed copy of the ‘Family Court Services Parenting Plan Questionnaire’ has to be submitted to the mediator either the day before or on the same day of the counseling. There is no more information that needs to be provided unless asked for by the mediator.

Interviews – Both parents are interviewed at the same time during the mediation. Telephone interviews may be done in some cases where one of the parents is not available locally.

Other situations – Certain situations may arise where the presence of a support person during counseling is required. This happens if there is a Restraining Order against a 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.  

 
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