Family Law Blog

How is Child Visitation Time Decided?

Friday, June 29, 2018

If you are splitting with your spouse, you might not care so much about the property and other assets in your marriage so much as you care about if you will ever get to see your children again. However, many going through this process are confused as to how the process of deciding visitation actually works. Who even decides? Is it the courts or is it the parents?

The truth is that when deciding visitation, it is a bit of both. When deciding child custody, the courts will always examine the facts and make a decision on what is best for the child. Ideally, they will want to prefer joint custody, but will decide a primary custody holder. Afterward, they will also recommend a visitation schedule.

Once primary custody rights have been assigned, the actual realistic visitation schedule will be sorted out with the parents. Obviously, if one parent decides to move to a different town, it may not be feasible to have visitations every weekend. That schedule could disrupt the child's school and life schedule. Instead, it may be decided that they visit every other weekend with longer stays over school holidays.

However, if the primary custody holder is not adhering to the recommended visitation schedule, unfortunately for the non-primary custody holding parent, they have little choice but to return to court. Before returning to what could be an expensive court battle, it is important that the non-primary custody parent seek the advice of a lawyer to look over the original court orders. If the courts laid out a visitation schedule and the primary custody holding parent is technically still in compliance, you will not have much of a case.

If you are going through a divorce where child custody is likely to be an issue, then you need to contact us today. What you need more than anything else is skilled legal counsel to make sure that you still get to see your kids again after divorce.


Modifying Child Custody in Calfornia

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Few issues in divorce become as emotionally-charged as matters concerning a couple's children. While couples can often be more open to compromise on many other considerations, child custody can quickly become quite contentious when the parents have differing opinions. 

California state law makes the health, safety, and welfare of children the primary concern for courts in making decisions relating to child custody. Both parents are assumed to have equal rights to custody. 

Couples may enter into joint custody agreements. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having decision-making powers regarding a child's health, safety, and welfare, while joint physical custody refers to equal time relating to both physical custody and decision-making issues. Joint custody schedules typically involve parents using alternating weeks or series of days every week.

In other cases, parents may agree to make one party the primary custodial parent while the other is the noncustodial parent. A noncustodial parent sees a childless often than a parent with joint custody, usually on an every other weekend schedule with a night or two of dinners that do not include overnight stays. 

Problems can arise in custody agreements as the result of any one of a number of external factors. One parent may need a schedule adjusted because of a new job, or one parent might not be complying with the original custody order. 

In order to modify a child custody order, the parent submitting the petition will need to prove a significant "change in circumstances." Courts may require couples to agree to mediation before a court hearing when one party seeks to modify a child custody order. 

If you need to modify a child custody order or your former partner is seeking an adjustment you do not agree with, you will want to contact Jamra & Jamra as soon as possible. Our experienced family law attorneys can work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

What Can an Unmarried Parent Do For Child Visitation?

Friday, February 23, 2018

For married parents that decide to split up, the divorce process includes proceedings to decide what happens to the children. However, for parents that never married, they do not need legal proceedings in order to stop seeing each other. The major downside of this is there is no legal order in place that says one parents has to let the other see their kids. However, while nothing legal may not be in place, unmarried parents do have options to put something in place so they can continue to have parental rights.

Establishing Paternity

By default in almost every state, the mother will have primary custody of her children in the event of an unmarried split. However, if the father files a paternity action in court to declare legal paternity, this will give them rights to have visitation or custody of the child. This will involve a paternity test as well as a public declaration before the court that you claim your paternal rights.

Establishing Custody or Visitation

The courts will always work within what is the best interest of the child, and most courts view a meaningful relationship with both parents as in the best interest. If you seek to take primary custody, the legal battles will be a little more complicated. You need to prove why the primary custodial parent is unfit and why living with you would be better for the child. However, if you are merely seeking joint custody or even just visitation, the court process will be significantly easier as the courts often want children to spend time with both their parents.

Both custody and visitation will have time schedules that are laid out with input by both parents, but ultimately approved by the courts. This will also include certain stipulations in which the primary custodial parent will need to make the other parent aware of such things like relocation since they will officially have legal parental rights like parents who had been previously married.

Are you an unmarried parent going to through a split and wondering how you can keep in touch with your kids? Contact us today to see what Jamra & Jamra can do to make sure your kids stay in your life.


What Happens When A Child Doesn’t Want to Have Visitation?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Often when it comes to visitation issues, typically it is one parent not showing up to a scheduled visitation, resulting in understandable heartbreak. However, occasionally it can actually be the child that doesn't want to attend a visitation. Maybe they are bored just watching TV with dad all day, or maybe mom is seeing someone new and it is resulting in some discomfort on their part. Regardless of the reason, what happens when a child no longer wants to attend visitation?

If the custodial parent denies visitation, they can be held in contempt of court. This can still happen if your child is refusing. This is why the custodial parent needs to take steps in order to remedy their relationship with the non-custodial parent.

The incontrovertible first step should always be to ask your child why they don't want to go. Sometimes it can be from neglect or abuse, and then that becomes a whole different ball game where you can often have visitation revoked. However, if it is something like boredom and negative emotions, often you can ask your ex-spouse to address these issues. Perhaps it would be better to spend time with their child doing more interesting things or it would be better if their new significant other wasn't around until they were more comfortable. You, as the custodial parent, need to explain very clearly how spending time with both parents is important. Make sure it is known that both sides love them and both sides always want to spend time with them.

If your child still refuses, a last resort may also be asking your ex-spouse for a little break from visitation. However, this might open you up to legal action. This means that if your child is refusing visitation, you may want to contact us to talk your options over with a lawyer.

What You Should Know About Child Custody

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Are you about to be embroiled in a child custody battle? Being granted custody of your child isn't a straightforward process, and it could play out in any number of ways depending on the decisions that you make. Here are some of the aspects surrounding child custody law that you should consider: 

Mutual agreement via Mediation

Keep in mind that spending any length of time in court is going to cost you. So it's always a good idea to attempt mediation and try to resolve the issue of custody with your former partner and his or her attorneys. However, it's also worth noting that these negotiations don't have to be formal. You and your former partner could meet at a coffee shop and have a calm, rational discussion about visitation rights, who the child should live with, child support, etc. If that fails, you could proceed to formal negotiations featuring attorneys from both sides and a licensed mediator. The mediator might be able to find points of reconciliation that weren't able to be reached prior to professional intervention. 

Child Custody Battles Outside of Marriage 

If the parents are unmarried, the mother will typically be awarded custody by the courts. While the law usually grants custody to the mother, the father still has the right to pursue visitation rights. The good news is that the lack of a marital bond means unpleasant legal entanglements such as child support or property disputes are rendered a non-issue.

Not the Parent?

In some cases, child custody disputes can arise between a relative who isn't the biological parent of the child and an absent parent. If this is your situation, you'll have to submit a "non-parent custody petition" to the courts, which requires details such as relationship to the child, reasons for the custody request, as well as the status of the parents. 

Please, contact us for more information. 


Child Custody Issues When One Parent Wants to Move to Another State

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What happens when one parent decides to move to a different state? The first thing to know is that if there is joint custody, you’re not permitted to move without the consent of the other parent or a court decision permitting it. Here are some other things you should be aware of.

Physical Joint Custody Vs Legal Joint Custody

Legal joint custody is when the child is staying with only one parent, but both parents have a legal say in the future of the child. In such cases, making a move will be a lot easier to accomplish. When there is joint physical custody, however, things will get a little more complicated.

Getting the Courts to Agree to a Move

It won’t be easy to get the courts to agree to a move. The court will take the ultimate well-being of the child into account, and that includes the emotional effects of moving away from a parent. You will have to prove that moving will be in the best interests of the child. If you can prove that moving is the only way to get reasonable employment, for example, or that the move is necessary for the educational needs of the child, the court may approve the move. Otherwise, you can move only if you leave your child behind. 

Visitation Rights After Moving

If the court agrees to the move, they will work out some sort of visitation agreement for the child. For example, if you are moving far away, the child may spend the summers with their other parent. Other communication method plans such as phone calls may also be set up.

For legal help with your child custody case, just contact us!

Who Gets Child Custody If Your Former Spouse Dies?

Friday, August 25, 2017

What happens when your former spouse, who was awarded custodial rights over your children, suddenly passes away? In most cases, custodial rights will revert back to you, the remaining surviving parent. However, other factors can come into play as well. Here are some common issues that arise.

If You Are Unfit

Courts will be looking out for the child’s best interests. In most cases, their best interests is to be with their biological parent. If, however, you are deemed unfit for taking care of them (for example, if you have a history of child abuse), the court will probably deny you custodial rights.

If Your Spouse Left a Will

If your spouse left a will stipulating who should be the guardian of your child, that will generally not have any direct effect. Your spouse did not own your child. The courts may, however, take your spouse's suggestion into consideration in their final ruling when analyzing what will be the best thing for the child.

If a Third Party Intervenes

Although you will usually be awarded custody, a third party can still intervene. A grandparent or other relative has the right to petition the courts for custody. They will usually have to prove that staying with you will cause harm to the child.

If Your Spouse Remarried

What if your spouse remarried? The existence of a stepparent may complicate things. If the stepparent formally adopted the child and your parental rights were terminated, they will generally retain custodial rights unless you adopt your child again. If, however, the stepparent did not adopt the child and you still retain parental rights, things may be different.

Contact us for legal help in any case involving child custody so that we can help you out.

How Does Mental Illness Effect Child Custody

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Mental illness can be a tricky issue, more so when it is brought into a custody case. Raising a child can be a challenging endeavor, and this can be problematic for people who suffer from mental illness. However, there are parents that have mental illness who are great parents, and also those who are not. This means when it comes down to mental health issues, it is left to a judge to carefully consider and decide on custody.

Rest assured that the judge will always make decisions in custody cases that are in the best interests of the child. However, if you suffer from mental illness and are worried about losing complete custody of their child, there are things that can affect the judge's decision for better or worse.

When a judge is considering your case, here is what you should keep in mind:

  • Is the mentally ill parent compliant with treatment?
  • What specific mental health issue the parent suffers from
  • Is the home environment stable?
  • Does the mental health issue affect the parent's ability to meet the emotional and physical needs of a child?

Naturally, if a parent suffers from depression, they are not considered as potentially destructive to a child as a manic schizophrenic. However, any mental health issue, if treated and the patient willingly undergoes treatment, can still allow them to keep custody. The willingness to undergo treatment and provide a stable home environment for a child both go a long way to keeping custody of them.

If you are divorcing and worried about your mental health issue affecting your custody case of your child, contact us today. The Law Firm of Jamra & Jamra believes that if you are seeking treatment and a good parent, any mental health issue shouldn't keep you from spending time with your child.

When Can a Grandparent Gain Custody of a Child?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When parents cannot properly raise a child, for whatever reason, grandparents often take over the responsibility. This is often done without a court's intervention but legal custody requires a judge's order. This poses difficulties if one or both parents refuse to relinquish custody. Learn what events can convince the court to give the legal responsibility of a child to a grandparent.

You must have a compelling reason for seeking custody of a child as courts are reluctant to take children away from parents. Judges are most likely to rule in your favor when you can prove a serious issue threatens the physical, mental and/or emotional health of the child. These include cases where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol, is physically abusive or neglectful or has a serious mental illness that impairs her ability to care for the child.

A judge's obligation is to always consider what is in the best interest of the child. So, if you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, you must prove the child will fare better with you than anyone else. So, you must provide a healthy, safe environment that the child does not have with his parents (or other legal guardians). Show the court you have a stable home and can provide the child with such things as proper nutrition, a bedroom, peaceful environment, toys and an appropriate education.

A judge is more likely to give you custody in cases where you are already a prime caregiver for the child. If you can prove you regularly take care of the child in your home, then the court knows the child is familiar and comfortable with the environment you provide. In general, judges prefer to place children with family members rather than foster or adoptive homes so this is something in your favor.

You can gain custody of your grandchild in certain circumstances. If you believe the child is in danger or his welfare is in jeopardy by remaining with his parents, you can petition the court for custody. Bring evidence such as pictures, letters and digital messages and affidavits from witnesses to prove the child needs relief  from his current environment. Also, show the court proof of your ability to provide a home and the best care for your grandchild.

Contact us for more information regarding legal custody of children.


What You Need to Know About Child Custody

Thursday, February 23, 2017

If you're getting divorced, you are wondering what it takes to attain the custody of your children. Fortunately, it is possible to come to an amicable agreement with your ex-spouse concerning whom the children will live with, as well as visitation rights.

Negotiation

Negotiations can involve a professional mediator, or consist of just you and your former partner. This is preferable in many ways to pursuing the court option because time and money are saved, not to mention the psychological health of any children involved. Keep in mind that negotiations don't need to take place in an "official setting." For instance, you can arrange to meet at a local restaurant where you will both be put at ease and will be able to focus on the important and relevant issues.

The Courts

If for some reason negotiations fall through, you could try your luck in court. The judge will look at various factors to determine what is best for the child. What is in the child's best interest includes their psychological and physical health, as well as what seems best for him or her long-term. Usually a court appointed psychiatrist will assess any children involved, and this will heavily influence the court's decision as to which parent will be awarded custody.  

Physical vs. Legal Custody

The two main types of custody that you should be aware of are physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where your child will reside day-to-day. Legal custody concerns the ability to make decisions affecting the child's education, health-related concerns, and other important aspects of life. Despite which parent is awarded physical custody, legal custody is typically shared between both parents. 

Please, contact us immediately.