Child Custody For Parents With History Of Substance Abuse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the important grounds on which parents can lose custody battles is having a history of substance abuse. Parents who struggle with substance abuse often have a strained relationship with their children and it plays a major part in family court proceedings.  If a court finds a parent guilty of alcohol or drug abuse, it can affect custody.  In serious cases, Child  Protective Services (CPS) can also intervene and remove the children from the addict parent. In some cases, the parents are arrested and charged with child neglect.

Effect on custody

During a divorce proceeding, the California courts will determine different types of custody for the parents. The list includes physical, legal and joint custody. A parent who has had a history of drug abuse may find it difficult to win custody battles. If the court finds that the parent has done rehab and has stayed away from drugs for a long time, it may grant custody of the children to such a parent. If the parent is still involved in substance abuse, the court takes away the parents right over the children.

Custody disputes

California courts generally want parents to create custody agreements either on their own or through mediators. If parents are unable to come up with a custody agreement, the court steps in to resolve the matter. The very first thing that the court will look at before drawing a custody agreement is the welfare of the child. If the court finds that the children are not comfortable living with their parents, it will look into the family history of each parent. Special emphasis is put on sexual assault and drug abuse. If the court finds evidence of drug abuse in the family, it will consider it as part of custody dispute.

Effect on visitation

Parents who stay under the influence of alcohol and drugs may find it difficult to spend time with their children. Visiting hours are usually a common thing in custody and most parents are granted a certain amount of time that they can spend with their children. The court won’t usually grant visitation hours to parents with substance abuse history and even if it does, it will be a supervised visit.

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.  

Do’s And Don’ts of Dealing With Abused Children Of Divorced Parents

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmMore than often, children end up becoming victims of divorce. And sometimes, they are the reason why parents get divorced. The latter is common during child abuse cases. Child abuse includes physical, psychological and sexual harm inflicted on the child. Child neglect and abuse is a major ground for divorce and most states including California award custody to the other parent without much pressure. However, once the child goes back to the caregiver, there are certain do’s and don’ts to follow while dealing with them.

Do’s

First and foremost, get your child(ren) individual therapist with a therapist licensed in your state.

Make some organizational planning and re-structuring within the house without making it emotional. Involve the children while you’re making the plans to make them feel that everything is normal around them. Ask for votes and opinions and make them participate as much as you can. But don’t put too much responsibility on them.

Abused children show signs of depression and sadness but some kids can act in the opposite way. If they show unruly behavior, teach them how to behave and this can be done in a fun and creative manner.

From time to time, talk to them about the changes in the house and why the changes are taking place. It will increase communication and help foster a positive relation between you and your children.

Don’ts

Try to avoid any sense of fear or anger around them because it might lead to depression. Even if they are old enough to understand such behavior, any negative emotion can have bad effects on their psyche.

Don’t try to go into a new relationship when your kids are still trying to cope up with the situation. It becomes very confusing for them to adjust around new people especially when they have gone through a bad experience.

Avoid any talk about divorce or the abusive parent in front of your kids. Don’t even mention their name.

Don’t make complicated and philosophical talks with your kids. Talk to them as any other parent would with their children.

Conclusion

Children are tough to deal with when parents undergo a divorce. Abused kids even more because of the trauma they go through. While dealing with such kids, it’s better to keep things as normal as possible. Create activities and allow your kids to become a part of it. Avoid negative talks or anything that has to do with either the divorce or the abusive 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.  

Divorcing A Physically Abusive Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

domestic violence attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmObtaining a divorce from a physically abusive spouse can be an extremely difficult affair for those on the receiving end. You need courage, sacrifice, and strong legal representation. It also needs a willing mind to navigate through challenging circumstances for a better life both for the spouse and children. It is extremely difficult to divorce an abusive husband in marriages that have lasted a long time. This is because the husband generally in these kinds of cases control the household finances.

Not a simple process

A few people will advise you to simply walk away from a life of hell. Do not listen to them. Your pain will be decipherable to only those who themselves have felt the pain. At the Maggio Law Firm, we know exactly what you are going through. We have in-depth knowledge of such cases and have successfully concluded the same in our clients’ favor.

Defining abuse under California law

Abuse is a broad term. It is inclusive of attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury, placing persons in a reasonable apprehension of any imminent or immediate mortal bodily injury or engaging in any behavior as described by section 6320 of the Family Code. This code includes molesting, striking, threatening, battering, telephoning, attacking, stalking, sexually assaulting and harassing as per Section 653m of Penal Code and destruction of personal property, contacting either indirectly or directly, through mail or any other medium, or coming within a particular distance, or disturbing the other party’s peace and as per the court’s discretion, other named household or family members.

Situational domestic violence

Family law lawyers and judges use the situational domestic violence term when they refer to a domestic violence which is a component of a one off incident and not pattern of abuse. It is frequently linked with external factors which result in an usually non-abusive husband to behave badly with his children or his wife. A number of circumstances could result in such an outcome. However, in a majority of cases, these are caused by wife’s infidelity, when husband’s infidelity has been discovered, or the husband addicted to alcohol or drugs or even the decision of the wife to leave husband and to file for divorce which subsequently angers the husband.

Handling situational domestic violence

These kinds of problems are best handled by applying for domestic violence restraining order. The wife, with her lawyer’s assistance, requests the court for both permanent and temporary restraining orders.

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 Visitation Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmChild visitation, increasingly referred to as a parent’s parenting schedule so as to not minimalize the parenting of the party who has less custodial time than the other, is a plan incorporated within a court order which stipulates the time and duration of visits a separating parent can see his or her children. A parent who gets to spend less than half of the time with his or her children can be termed as having visitation with them. Just like child custody settlements, depending upon several factors such as specific circumstances of the case and best interests of the child, the court may order various kinds of visitations for the separating parent.

Visitation as per a specified schedule

More often than not, a visitation order might become a topic for constant conflict and disputes between the separating parents. In order to avoid the confusion stemming out of a visitation order, the court of law designs a comprehensive visitation schedule which specifies the dates and times of each parent’s visit. The visitation schedule will also include special occasions such as birthdays, vacations and Thanksgiving. 

Reasonable visitation

A reasonable visitation can be touted as an open ended court order which allows room for mutual agreements on the schedule by the couple itself. Since this type of visitation order does not typically lay down the schedule timings, it can be effective only in the cases wherein the parents are able to get along well and communicate peacefully with each other. A disagreement or misunderstanding between the parents over a reasonable visitation can be highly detrimental to the mental and emotional well being of the child. 

Supervised visitation

There are certain specific divorce cases, wherein it is decided by the court of law that the visitation is carried out under the supervision of a third party. If a court sees a level of threat to the safety and well being of a child, it may order for supervised visitation which will be carried out in the presence of the other parent, another adult or a law professional. Supervised visitation is also ordered in cases where a parent has not been in touch with the child for long and needs to get more familiar with the latter by means of visits. 

No visitation

The court of law has the right to entirely deny any visitation to a parent, which even under supervision poses a significant threat to the physical or mental well being of the child. In such cases, it is deemed against the best interest of the child to have any sort of contact with the abusive 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.  

Understanding Supervised Visitation

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyThe State of California stipulates that all child custody related arrangements with reference to parental divorce cases would incorporate the best interest of the child. As per the specific situation, the court of law will decide a settlement which would imply that either both or one of the parents will be granted the shared or single custody of the child respectively. In addition to the child custody, the judge may decide the visitation arrangements for the child which would order the child to have contact with one parent only in the presence of neutral third party. The aforementioned arrangement is termed as supervised visitation. In such a settlement, the court has the right to specify the duration and time of visitation. In some cases, the judge might further allot the third party supervision to specific persons and list out the places where the visitation can take place.

When does a court grant supervised visitation?

There are several cases wherein a court will require the parent to carry out supervised visitation with their child, such as:

  • In cases where a parent would like to address some specific issues with the child
  • In order to recreate a bonding with a long absent parent
  • To facilitate an introduction between the parent and child in cases wherein there was a nonexistent relationship between the two.
  • In cases wherein there is a history of domestic violence or physical abuse
  • In cases where there is a threat of parental abduction

Who is a supervised visitation provider?

A supervised visitation provider can be anyone ranging from a neutral family member, a friend or even a professional. It is the provider’s duty to oversee all the visitations cautiously and ensure that all the separate parties involved in the process are kept safe and free of any harm. The provider is obliged to stay around during all the visits and also keep a close track of what is being discussed and how the child is responding to it. Since it is his job to ensure everything goes on smoothly for the child, the provider is supposed to report the parent’s misbehavior or child abuse to the court. He further has the right to interrupt or even put an end to the visit if required.

The supervised visitation providers may be broadly classified into two categories, namely non-professional and professional providers. While non-professional providers are somewhat related to your family or friend circle and are not paid, the professional providers charge a fee for their services.

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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