Family Law Blog

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.

Utilize Technology to Facilitate Co-Parenting

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Communication! When you cannot communicate with your child's other parent, it can make everyone's life miserable, especially if the other parent is trying to make it difficult! 

The Game: do these false accusations and lies sound familiar?

  • I didn't get the message!
  • You never sent me _____!
  • My phone was off!
  • My battery died!
  • I sent you the money last week!

Well, good news! Technology can help! Stop stressing out about petty lies and accusations so you can focus on your child!

Here are two companies that offer software that can help: 2houses and Our Family Wizard. Both offer you the ability to communicate solely through their program, which eliminates a lot of miscommunication and false claims! Both programs feature financial tracking options that allow you to upload relevant receipts. The programs can calculate how much each party should pay and you can pay through the portal! The calendars are easy to use so that both of you can add events or request a change in the schedule! Our Family Wizard's messaging system detects aggressive tones and makes suggestions to keep communication civil. Both programs are available on desktop and phone apps for easier access! 2houses offers a free 14-day trial and monthly payment options while Our Family Wizard offers a 30-day money back guarantee, military discounts and scholarship opportunities. 

If you are in a high-conflict situation and the other parent is damaging your child's emotional well-being, contact us! We can help you develop a parenting plan that will protect your child!  

Three Tips to Help Your Children Through Divorce

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Divorce can be devastating on anyone. Bring young children into the mix and it becomes even harder. Parents often stay together for their children but it is not always the best thing. Even though your children are going to be hurt, divorce may be the right decision and life will get better.

Here are some tips to help your children through divorce.

The best thing that you can do for your children is learn to get along. 

Even though the marriage is ending, your family is not. You are going to have to spend countless holidays, special events, and even smaller events such as sports games together. The sooner that you are able to put your feelings aside and be friendly, the better off everyone will be.

Throughout the whole process, talk to your children about their feelings. 

Acknowledge their feelings and let your children know that what they are feeling is normal. Listen to them (over and over again) as they talk through their feelings.

Make sure that both of you are there for your children in the early stage (and throughout the rest of their lives). 

Your children need to know that they can count on you and their other parent, no matter what they need. There are going to be times when you can help and other times when they will need your ex. Don’t disappear from your children’s lives even for a short period during the divorce. Your children need you every step of the way!

Divorce can be awful for children but, the sooner you can get along for the children, the better off your new family will be. You also need to make sure that you are there for your children every step of the way. Though some parents feel like they should step away while their children adjust, there are going to be times when your children needs one of you more than the other. You can’t take that away from them!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Three Tips To Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Telling your children that you are getting divorced may be the hardest part of the whole process. No parent wants to turn their children’s lives upside down. However, the sooner that you tell them, the better off they will be.

Here are some tips on how to tell your children that you are getting a divorce.

  • Pick the right time to talk to them. Life is very busy and it can be hard to find time to talk to your children about divorce. However, you shouldn’t bring it up when they are rushing to school or you are trying to put them to bed. Find a time when you have an hour or two to really talk about it before bringing it up.
  • Have a plan. It is important that you have a plan in place before you tell the children. It helps to know who is moving out and where they are going. It is even better if you can have some sort of custody arrangement figured out prior to telling them. This helps you to answer any questions that they may have.
  • Present a united front. Telling the children shouldn’t be one parent’s job. Instead, you should both sit down with the children and discuss the divorce. Try not to use this time to place blame. Instead, discuss the situation and what they can expect. Answer their questions the best that you can.   

It can be really hard to tell your children that their lives are going to change. However, if you already have a plan, it is much easier to tell your children what they can expect going forward. It will be easier to answer their questions and settle their minds if you know what is going to happen.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Do You Have the Right to Parenting Time?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Once referred to as visitation, parenting time is the time a parent spends with a child after the parents have separated. While parenting time doesn’t matter if you have been named the custodial parent, typically it is used to describe the time the noncustodial parent spends with their child. However, do you actually have a right to parenting time?

Parenting time is not a right, so you do not automatically have the right to see your child if you are not the custodial parent. The court decides if parenting time is in the best interests of the child, but will typically grant at least some parenting time unless the noncustodial parent has a history of harm or abuse to the child or others.

Once parenting time has been granted, unless abuse starts to show itself, it is difficult to have parenting time taken away. Even if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the court cannot take away your parenting time, but you may face other consequences.

If you are trying to get the maximum amount of parenting time with your child, one of the main things that the court will look at is your history with the child. It is best to write down what sort of relationship you have had, how much time you previously spent with the child, and how much of that time included overnights.

If you are in the process of a separation and are trying to get custody or parenting time with your child in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles child support lawyer today.

Keeping the Children Away From Divorce Drama

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When raising a child or children after a divorce, any resentments or unresolved issues between parents should be set aside. Both parents must focus on the children's best interests. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips from a blogger and attorney about keeping children away from divorce drama.

After a divorce, don't talk badly about the other parent. Children know that everything isn't perfect between mom and dad if a divorce happens. However, they don't need the specifics. Experts and courts agree that children need a relationship with both parents after a divorce. When exposed to negativity about a parent, this just makes it harder for the child to have a meaningful connection with this parent. If you want to discuss your ex's flaws or the sordid details of a divorce, make sure the kids aren't around and definitely don't direct  mean comments about the other parent to the child.

After a divorce, each parent usually still wants their relatives to have contact with the kids. If a divorce involved tension or anger, some relatives may not have the best opinion of a loved one's ex. You might need to talk to your relatives beforehand so that they can avoid disparaging the other parent in front of the children.

Making the effort to shield your kids from disputes is what is most important. If someone slips up, keep trying. One or two comments aren't a big deal as long as both parents and others consistently attempt to remain positive in front of the children. When going through a divorce, contact us today for information about how we could help you.

Dealing With Tardiness in Child Custody Matters

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When figuring out a parenting plan and child custody schedule, parents might work something out before finalizing a divorce or have matters settled by a judge. Either way, everything won't always go according to plan. A visitation order might list how often and at what times a noncustodial parent receives access to a child or children. Problems may arise if one parent stops following the schedule by showing up late or not showing up at all. Here are some tips for dealing with tardiness or absences.

Occasional Slip Ups

Parents should try to work with each other when possible and realize that unplanned events do arise every now and then that could interfere with the regular schedule. Being late once or twice will happen, and it's better to not get worked up if little things like this occur.

When It Becomes A Habit

If a parent is always late or frequently changes plans without warning, start by talking to them. Maybe there is a reason and an easy fix for the problem or the person doesn't even realize there is an issue. Though a fixed schedule is helpful for kids and adults, real life can get in the way. Changes to a schedule might be needed as time passes.

When Parents Can't Work It Out

Mediation could be the right solution if both parents want to reach an agreement but are unable to communicate and solve the problem. A mediator could help parents find and agree on a compromise. If mediation doesn't work and nothing improves, going to court to enforce or change an order might be necessary. Try to document what is happening and how it affects your children.

When divorcing or trying to raise children after a divorce, an attorney's assistance may be needed. Contact us today for information about how we could help you.

Divorce: Making Things Right During The Holidays

Friday, December 09, 2016

Anyone who has experienced a divorce or is currently experiencing a divorce knows that a divorce can turn things upside down. Everything can change during a divorce. When parents make the decision to split, it seems that everything will be impacted. This is especially true when it comes to the holiday season.

The holidays can be a very difficult time for a divided family who has to make arrangements so the children can spend time with both parents. The old holiday traditions are a thing of the past, and parents now have to create new traditions and start new memories.

If the parents are going to work together to give their children the best holiday experiences, there needs to be a detailed visitation schedule when the parents agree to co-parent. The schedules and agreements should not be vague because these types of agreements will likely fall apart very quickly.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for families, but this is not always the case when families have separated and the children have to spend the holidays in two homes. However, when parents can agree and stick to a schedule and any other agreement, there will be a less amount of stress and there will be no arguments and disagreements.

The court system is available to help families figure things out and do what is best for the children, but one of the best things parents can do is try to work things out on their own. If families do not want to be stress and burdened with going to court, they should try to work together and keep things positive.

We do understand that sometimes families need to go through the court system so they can be advised of the best steps to take. If you need advice about your situation or if you would like a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Ease the Stress of Child Custody With a Parenting Plan

Friday, July 29, 2016

Divorce and child custody are two difficult topics for us attorneys to have to discuss with our clients. Parents are used to having access to their children at all times, and after a divorce, there are going to be times your children are not around. It's important, therefore, for you and your spouse to maintain a good relationship so that your children can benefit from remaining close to you both. This is where coming up with an agreeable parenting plan comes in.

Parents Work Together

When a court determines custody of the children, they will look to place the child in the home that benefits the best interests of that child. If parents can agree on joint custody, it's beneficial to all because both parents have a role in working together to raise the child and make crucial decisions about the child's life.

Parenting Plan

A court will generally dictate the visitation and custody schedules, but if the parents can work out a plan that benefits all involved, courts usually agree to that arrangement. Not only will this benefit all of you in the long run, it takes away the stress factors of fighting for something you're unlikely to get.

You generally always have your child's bests interests in mind, and you want your children to feel safe and secure. This is best achieved when you and your spouse come to the understanding that working together for the common good of your child can be the best for this otherwise difficult time in your life.

For more information on child custody, contact us today.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships as a Non-Custodial Parent

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's no secret that co-parenting is often a tricky maze to navigate, especially for the non-custodial parent.

Many non-custodial parents can feel left out of simple everyday decisions pertaining to their children, from what they learn in school to who they become friends with. This often leaves the non-custodial parent with a feeling of having to "force" themselves into their children's lives, sometimes with resistance from the custodial parent. They may feel disconnected as if they were an outsider. This can lead to depression, loneliness, and a feeling of loss for both the non-custodial parent and the children.

We all know children grow up much healthier and happier when both their parents are involved in their lives as much as possible. With a few simple steps, you can close that gap between "non-custodial" parent and "parent".

Don't Miss Scheduled Visits

If you are like many non-custodial parents, you have obligations outside of your home and family. Do your best to avoid letting your outside obligations, such as work, personal and professional relationships, or hobbies get in the way of scheduled time with your children.

Make it a point to let your employer know that you are only available to work the weekends/holidays that you don't have your children. Print a calendar with all the days you are unavailable for overtime or weekend/holiday work, that way he/she will know several weeks ahead of time that you are unavailable. If you share weekly custody, make sure to get a trustworthy babysitter or enroll the children in an accredited daycare.

Use Technology

With today's vast array of technological advances in communication, the opportunities to contact and keep tabs on your children are almost endless. Social media, video chatting and texting every day, even for just a few minutes a day, can add a convenient and personal way to connect with your children.

You can keep up with their achievements, meet their friends, help them through tough times, and tell them good night, every night, with a few strokes of a keyboard.

Know Your Rights

The most important way to stay in your child's life is to know your rights as a non-custodial parent. While not every co-parenting plan is the same, and they can vary widely from person to person, make sure you know what your rights are and enforce them with the help of your family lawyer, if need be. The most common reason stated by non-custodial parents for lax efforts in maintaining a consistent relationship with their children is the refusal of the custodial parent to respect the guidelines of the custody agreement.

Remember, you are an important part of your child's life and it is vital that you, as a parent, maintain that relationship for the well-being of your children and of yourself.

For more information on child custody and your rights as a non-custodial parent, feel free to contact us.