Family Law Blog

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.

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.

What To Do When Your Ex Is Alienating You From Your Child

Thursday, January 12, 2017

After undergoing a divorce, you may find that your ex-spouse is alienating the child from you. When they are preventing the child from meeting you, it is simply known as parent alienation. The case becomes more complex, however, when the other parent is having a damaging psychological effect on your child’s relationship with you.

The other parent may be denigrating you in front of your child or telling them that you do not love them. When the child develops negative feelings towards you, it is called Parent Alienation Syndrome, which was researched by Richard Gardner some decades ago.

The problem over here is to get the court to recognize what is going on. Parent Alienation Syndrome is not a medically recognized syndrome. Of course, if the court determines that the other parent is undermining your relationship with your child, they will probably step in and attempt to remedy the situation by setting up therapy sessions for the child or even by giving you child custody (in severe situations). The court is looking out for your child's best interests, which is to have a healthy relationship with both parents. 

However, before the court will take action, they will usually order a third-party psychological evaluation for the child. This can take time, and before you know it, the case can drag on for a year, with the alienation only getting worse.

The key to winning over here is to get the court to take action quickly, without dragging their feet. That’s why you need a lawyer who is knowledgeable in child support and alienation matters. For legal help, and to save your relationship with your child, make sure to contact us.

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.

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.

Tips for Better Co-parenting with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Thursday, February 19, 2015

When you share custody of your children, you are required to work with each other with one goal in mind-the best interests of your children. That means that you understand right at the outset that you may be required compromise your own desires to ensure that your children have a healthy childhood.

But that isn't always easy to accomplish, especially if you are required to co-parent with an ex-spouse who is belligerent. In such cases, you may have no other choice but to accept that there are some things that you simply cannot control. You can co-parent better if you focus on your own parenting abilities and on changing the things that you can within your own self. Realize there are some things about your ex-spouse’s parenting that you cannot change.

Avoid letting the negativity over your ex-spouse consume your life. Don't allow those negative thoughts to intrude your space, when you are with your children. Be present in the moment when you are with your children, and avoid complaining about the other parent in front of your children all the time.

If the other parent cannot be relied on to provide a calm, stress-free environment, make up for it. Make sure that you have a calming environment at home for your children. Don't let things fall apart in your home, because things are chaotic at the other home.

Focus on all the good that co-parenting is doing for your children. If your children are growing up to be stable, emotionally mature individuals, in spite of the fact, that they have been through a major upheaval in their lives, then you have much to be grateful for.

For help creating a visitation plan, or protecting your rights to child custody during a divorce, speak to a Los Angeles family lawyer.

Co-parenting with a Problem Parent

Friday, July 18, 2014

Co-parenting is one of the most ideal child custody arrangements after a divorce in Beverly Hills. There are a number of advantages, including increased access to the father, and greater involvement of the father in the child's life. However, these arrangements can be difficult when one parent insists on being difficult.

Not every co-parenting arrangement is smooth and problem-free. Sometimes, parents try to create problems with their attitude, bad behavior, and lack of concern for the child. If you are in an unfortunate situation, where you are co-parenting with a parent like this, you will find coping a challenge. However, you have to place the best interests of the child as top priority, and must continue to engage with the other parent as best as you can for the sake of the child.

That does not mean unnecessary communication. However, it does mean that you continue to maintain open communication, and share information about the child with the other parent. Plan parent conferences where you discuss the progress of the child and problem areas that need to be rectified.

Realize that you can't do anything to change the behavior of your partner, and do the best with what you have. Use phone calls, e-mails, or SMS to keep in contact, if communication becomes problematic.

The one thing that you cannot do is stoop to the level of the other parent. No matter how bad the behavior is, it's important for you to make a stable difference in your child's life. It may not seem like a child sees much, but you can rest assured that your child is observing the behavior of his parents, and will appreciate the efforts that you make to be a stable and calming influence for him.

What Is a Co-Parenting Agreement?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Parents, who have decided to get divorced or separated, and have decided to live in two separate homes can sign a co-parenting agreement that allows effective co-parenting.

A co-parenting agreement, as the name suggests, spells out clearly all the roles, obligations and responsibilities of each parent in the agreement. What does a co-parenting agreement contain? You may decide have a co-parenting agreement in which you agree to share all information about the child with each other. That includes medical information, the child's extracurricular activities, and information other child's school activities.

You will share with your other child's other parent, information about the child's vaccination records, and emergency medical procedures. In a co-parenting agreement, it's very important that parents work closely together to make sure that the child attends all of the extracurricular activities that he is signed up for without any problem. Each parent must have access to information about the activities the child participates in, the venue, people conducting the activity and so on. All school-related information should equally be shared between the parents. That data includes school progress cards, homework, extracurricular activities, school cultural events and programs, and parent-teacher conferences. As part of a co-parenting agreement, you will also agree to mutually make major decisions about the child jointly.

You may think that all of this is a given, and that you don't need an agreement to spell it out. However, you would be surprised at how quickly matters can sour when two parents are living apart, but taking care of their children together. You may encounter misunderstandings, especially when the two of you begin dating other people, and other potential step-parents, begin to enter the picture. It's best to have everything clearly defined in a co-parenting agreement that you have both signed.