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.  

Top 3 Mistakes Committed While Fighting Child Custody Battle

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody; The Maggio Law FirmThere are many instances when couples who separate are not able to work out a proper parenting planning that is agreeable to both of them. In such scenarios, the only alternative available to both the parents is to approach the court seeking an order on child custody. Sadly though, there are several such cases where good parents are labeled as being neglectful or unfit when they make any if they make any of the mistakes mentioned below while they are fighting their battle on child custody.

Show poor judgment and information on a social media site

Lately, it has been found that there are many such parents who use social media to vent out their emotions, demean the other parent or show-off to their known ones that they are having great fun in their newly acquired single study even in the midst of the custody battle. But you should remember that social media is not a private platform and is meant for sharing what you want your friends or the general public to know. Quite frequently the pictures and information you upload on a social networking site can be viewed by the general public and that also includes your estranged spouse as well as his or her lawyer.

Not obeying temporary custody orders of the court

In a majority of cases, it is a common norm for the Court to order for temporary interim custody in the beginning of paternity action or a divorce that will be binding till the time there is a trial.

A bad mistake that can be committed by one of the parents is to disregard or not obey the temporary orders of the court. For instance, a parent not returning the kids on a specific day and at a specific time. Another example could be removing the kids from the residing state without intimating the other parent or the court order permitting such relocation. In both the cases, the aggrieved party is bound to inform the same to the concerned court to highlight that the authority of the court has been violated by the other parent.

Getting arrested

This is one of the sure shot ways for the other patient to prove that the arrested parent is not fit while the custody battle is still going on. Even though a parent may not be charged or convicted of a crime but gets arrested, the act is sufficient to provide a weapon in the hands of the other parent to claim that his or her estranged spouse has a problem with anger management or has an inclination towards violence.

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.  

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.  

Tips For Becoming A Better Step-Parent For Divorced Kids

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIf you’re a step-parent who’s in charge of step-kids, then it is needless to tell you how hectic and tough it can become to handle them. Children exhibit a variety of emotions and sometimes it becomes hard to understand what their true feelings are. As a step-parent, you can only put on your best behavior and hope that things get better as time passes. However, it does not always work out and you need to put in extra effort to make sure it does.

Here are some tips to help you become a better step-parent:

  1. Don’t make too many drastic changes

Changes are difficult for children to accept and more than often it negatively affects them if the changes are too drastic. The very reason that you’re in the house means that there are going to be certain changes and the child knows that. So, take it easy and make one change at a time.

  1. Make changes before you marry if you can

The best way to allow kids adjust to the change is by making the changes before you get married. And since you’ll be around the children for most of the time, they will slowly get used to the change.

  1. Don’t create excessive rules

It is understandable that you want to create rules and impose them on your step-children as part of your parenting guide. But making too many rules can have a negative effect on the kids. When you’re moving into the family, don’t make any rules at all. Instead make everything fun and interactive. Once you connect with your step children, you can teach them certain rules which they should follow around the house.

  1. Don’t be stern

Never ever make the children feel like they’re in a military camp. Be easy on them and even if they make mistakes or create trouble, handle the situation peacefully.

  1. Don’t try showing extra affection

Children are quick to find out who is fake and who is not. If your plan is too show too much affection the minute you lay eyes on them, then in all likelihood, that plan will backfire. Keep things as natural as possible.

Conclusion

It’s a new life for you but your step-children don’t want to feel the same way. They just want the comfort of their mom and dad and as a parent it becomes your duty to make sure you understand them correctly.

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.  

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.  

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.  

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.  

What To Do When Your Child Refuses to Stick To The Visitation Schedule

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county child custody attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmOne of the most stressful issues that the custodial parents regularly face is when a child refuses to follow the visitation schedule mentioned in the final decree of divorce and meet either parent. Such a situation typically stems out of several influential factors such as parental alienation, resentment, fear or anger. The situation can really become difficult when the child is approaching the age of turning a major. It goes without saying that the instructions and orders mentioned in the final decree of divorce are law enforceable and command stringent legal action if the court finds any of the involved parties refusing to follow them. So how do you avoid such a situation and make your child follow the visitation schedule?

Try to maintain continuity with the other parent

It is easier for a child to handle the visitation and custody arrangements when both his/her parents act on a unified front with him/her. For example, a child might refuse to visit his/her father just because he takes him/her to the movies, which is something the mommy doesn’t approve of. While it might be entertaining for the child, he/she finds it easier to give up on the fun rather than come back home to face an angry and upset mother. It is for this reason, you must learn to establish continuity with the other parent by respecting his or her ways of parenting that might be in tandem with his/her personal life preferences. 

Keep track of the visitation schedule

The custodial parent must make it a point to maintain a documentation of how he or she attempted to adhere to the visitation schedule. Keep a record of the dates and times of instances when your child refused visitation and also the circumstances in which he/she took such a stand. You must make it a point to document your attempts of explaining the ramifications of not following the schedule to the older children. 

Consult a child psychologist

Since a majority of cases where children refuse to visit a parent stem out of emotional stress or feelings of resentment, it is advisable to take the help of a child psychologist to understand your little one’s thought process. Another major cause of such refusals is some kind of fear in visiting or staying with a parent. A doctor can be your best aid in gauging your child’s emotional condition and suggesting ways of improving it.

The basic ideas behind getting your child to adhere to his/her visitation schedule are to avoid any legal issues from cropping up and also to ensure his/her healthy upbringing.

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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