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CA family lawyerYou may be limited to just a few hours every couple of days, or an overnighter on the weekends, but this time with your child will go a long way in cementing your relationship with them and creating or maintaining a bond that will last a lifetime. A parent who has just gone through divorce and was awarded visitation time only, rather than shared custody, may lament the court’s decision, but it is important to keep a positive attitude for your child and to maximize the quality of time that you do have with your son or daughter. A San Jose child visitation and custody attorney can help you with visitation or custody and can offer suggestions on what to do with your child, how to make a plan, and other questions you may have.

Make a Schedule and Keep To It

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the building blocks for structure are consistency, predictability, and follow through. Structure is important for children—so important, in fact, that the CDC, recommends creating structure in the following ways:

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CA custody lawyerDomestic violence is the most common felony offense in the U.S., and it goes largely unreported. Another unreported aspect of domestic violence is when the abuser harms their own child, which is more common than the average person might think. In fact, 30 to 60 percent of children living in abusive homes are, in addition to the other victim, physically or sexually abused themselves, according to Stop Violence Against Women. This startling fact is one of the main reasons that judges side with the victims of domestic violence when the couple splits up and child custody becomes an issue.

Child’s Best Interests

The court will always side in favor of the child’s best interests, and obviously being sexually or physically abused is not in their best interest. Moreover, even if children are not abused themselves while living in a home where domestic violence occurs, they are still more likely to suffer from emotional, behavioral, developmental, social, and learning problems. Early childhood trauma, such as seeing their mother get slapped, pushed, or threatened, can follow a child into adulthood, causing depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and lower economic status.

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Posted on in Visitation

California divorce attorneyWhile it is ideal for children to see their parents in person, there are a lot of changing circumstances to a child visitation schedule that can prohibit physical contact. The children may travel with one parent for an extended summer vacation, one spouse may relocate for a job, or a child’s day may be too busy with school and sports to travel between homes. In these circumstances it may be useful for parents to take advantage of electronic communications to connect with their children on a regular basis. If you or your former spouse are looking to make changes in your parenting plan or are trying to incorporate virtual visitation into your scheduling, contact an experienced San Jose child custody and visitation lawyer to learn more. We will assist you throughout each step of your case.

Types of Electronic Communication

One of the most common devices used to communicate virtually is the cell phone. According to the CTIA Wireless Foundation, 38 percent of children who are two or younger have used a cell phone to access media. Even if a child is young, they can still engage with an absent parent via electronic devices with the help of an adult. Children can also connect with parents on tablets, computers, video gaming systems, and more. Communication can include:

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Posted on in Divorce

California divorce lawyer, California military divorce attorneyUnfortunately, military divorces, which have special rules applied by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, can be much more complicated, time-consuming, and difficult than a civilian divorce. Because of this, we strongly encourage you to seek legal counsel. It can be an overwhelming process, which leads to mistakes being made and an even longer, drawn-out struggle for both parties. To speak with an experienced San Jose military divorce attorney today, contact our office at once to schedule a free consultation.

Filing For Military Divorce in California

As a military member or a service member’s spouse, you should file for divorce in the state that you have legal custody in. It is important to keep in mind that the state where the military member resides has the legal ability to divide the pension. However, the service member, if they currently reside in Florida for example, can agree to allow California divide the pension if they so desire.

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California family lawyer, California divorce lawyerThere are many reasons that the court may consider a child custody modification. Common reasons for modifications include if the child is in physical or emotional danger from one of their parents, if one of the parents continuously violates the terms of the court agreement, a relocation of one of the parents, a severe injury or illness of either parent, or if your child persists on living with you for another reason and they are old enough to have a valid opinion in the court’s eyes. But what if there is no specific problem with the other parent that can be pointed to, and the child’s actions alone show a need for change? If your child is in danger of heading down the wrong road in life due to your divorce and separation, and the stress of living with the other parent, it may be necessary to pursue a modification.

Rebellion after Divorce Is Normal for Children, but Trouble with the Law Is Not

Many children act up after their parents get divorced or separated. In fact, many studies have shown that children of divorce “score significantly lower on measures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept, and social relations.” That does not mean that getting in trouble with the law, flunking out of school, getting in fights, underage drinking, theft, aggression, graffiti, and other forms of acting out should be tolerated or ignored. Rebellion is normal, but if the other parent is influencing or even encouraging the poor behavior, there may be grounds for a custody modification.

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California custody lawyer, California family law attorneyWhether your parenting plan is mandated in court or is a guideline for you and your child’s other parent to use more informally, it is important to follow regardless. By following a well-crafted parenting plan, you can avoid confusion, conflict, and accidents down the road, and help to establish or maintain a positive working relationship with the other guardian.

Living Arrangement

There are many types of living arrangements to choose from if both parents are willing to share their time equally and are open to joint custody. The child may live with one parent on the weekdays and the other on the weekends. Or, they may live with one parent full-time and only spend visitation time with the other parent. While not as common, some parents decide to keep the child at one home while they take turns moving in and out, living in another home when they are not with the child. This is termed “bird nest custody.”

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Posted on in Child Custody

California child custody attorney, California family law attorneyIt is important to remember that the court will always choose what it believes to be in the best interest of your child. Whether a parent is abusive, constantly late for scheduled pick ups, or has a drug or alcohol problem, the court will take that information and make a decision based on the negatives that those characteristics bring to the table. The court may eventually decide, or decide right away, that a particular parent is a potential threat to their child’s well-being, and put restrictions on their visitation rights. Often, that restriction is to only allow supervised visitation. Whether you have had restrictions put on your visitation, you believe that the non-custodial parent should only be allowed supervised visitation, or you simply want to learn more about visitation orders in general, contact a skilled family law attorney for answers to your questions, as well as for immediate and experienced assistance.

Reasons for a Supervised Visit

The court may order all visitations for a parent to be supervised by a third-party person for various reasons. There may be a threat to the child or there may be a need to slowly establish a long-lost relationship before normal visitation can occur. The court will also determine the length and location of these supervised visits, according to California law. There are many reasons why the court may deem supervision a necessity, including:

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California divorce attorney, California family law attorneyUnfortunately, just like adults, not all children speak up when they have been abused or neglected. As such, it is often the responsibility of adult family and friends to keep a close eye on the child and parent(s) when abuse is suspected. However, the signs and symptoms are sometimes incredibly hard to spot. Physical abuse and neglect can be even more difficult to detect when the child is very young. If you are a parent and suspect that your divorced spouse or separated partner is abusing or neglecting your child during their visitation or custody periods, you need to contact an attorney at once. Additionally, if you are a grandparent or other family member, friend, or neighbor, it may be up to you to speak up and bring your suspicions to the attention of the authorities.

If you suspect your child or a child in your family is being neglected or abused, contact the authorities immediately, along with a dedicated family attorney in the San Jose area. The custody and visitation rights of the parent in question may be revoked, as no child deserves to be treated in such a manner.

Child Abuse and Neglect Can Impact a Child for a Lifetime

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California family law attorney, California custody lawyerWhen it comes time for a judge to determine custody and visitation rights, the child’s (or children’s) well-being takes priority. The court will always choose in favor of the child’s physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional well-being, and custody and visitation will be granted accordingly.

It can seem entirely unfair for a mental health disorder to determine whether or not a parent will be able to visit their child on a regular basis, but that is often one of the factors that the court considers. After all, parents who suffer from certain mental illnesses pose a potential threat to their children’s mental and emotional well-being, according to various research outlined by the Institute for Family Violence Studies under FSU's College of Social Work.

The determining factors of visitation rights are often based on the non-custodial parent’s:

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California divorce laws, California divorce attorneyThe military lifestyle is stressful on a family. The frequent uprooting of the family from one city to the next, the inherent dangers of military duty and the stresses that they bring, and the isolation and long periods of time spent alone that the non-military spouse endures can all wreak havoc on a marriage. When young children are involved in the picture, it can be even more stressful. As such, divorce is not uncommon. The rate of military divorce is 3 percent, according to the U.S. military, and just lower than the civilian divorce rate, which is 3.6 percent, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Military divorce law is different than civilian in that there are certain rules and regulations that go along with a military divorce in order to ensure that the service person's family is well taken care of. Often, the non-military spouse will have given up their own career aspirations in order to support their spouse’s military career. The constant moves across the country usually mean that the non-military spouse will not even be employed at all, or will be constantly underemployed. This leaves them with little job experience or relevancy if a divorce occurs and they have to provide for themselves after years of supporting their military spouse at home and raising the children. If you are going through a military divorce, contact the experienced San Jose military divorce attorneys at our office today to learn how we can provide you with professional assistance.

Dividing the Pension and Benefits

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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyIn the past, if the parents did not agree upon shared custody, the court usually granted primary custody to the mother, as it was deemed that she would have more time to provide for the child and would provide better care. While the judge would give sole custody to the mother, the father would be given visitation hours and would be required to pay child support. The reasoning behind this aging dogma was that the father would be better suited to providing financial assistance through his job, while the mother better suited to home making and caring for children. As women gain rights in the workplace, this practice is becoming more and more outdated in most states, including California. While women still only earn 81 cents for every dollar that men make at the same job, that number used to be 62 cents on the dollar back in 1979, per the International Labor Organization.

According to California law, if the parents cannot reach an agreement on custody rights, the court will make the decision based on what is best for the child. According to California Courts, these factors include:

  • The health of the child;
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child;
  • The ability of the parents to care for the child;
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse; and
  • The child’s ties to school, home, and his or her community.

There is no law that states the mother will be given priority if all other factors are equal. However, if you feel that you are not being given an equal chance for custodial rights, it may be time to contact an experienced child custody attorney to argue your case for fair and equal representation. Additionally, the court is not legally allowed to deny your custody or even visitation rights based on the following factors:

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California custody laws, California family law attorneyAccording to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages result in divorce, with subsequent marriages having an even worse rate of success. Divorces are, of course, very hard on young children. An even more difficult scenario is moving after a separation. Relocation to a different state can cause serious conflict between the two separated parents, as well as problems for their child as well. Often, moving is a huge stress on young children, and can have long lasting negative effects. However, a good job opportunity or the chance to live with other family members may be too good to pass up and may be seen as positives in the eyes of the court. But, is it always possible for one parent to relocate without the blessings of the other parent? How does a parent gain the court’s permission, or prove to the court that a move would not be in the best interest of the child? 

According to California law, the parent with primary custody may move away with the child unless the other parent is able to prove that the relocation would harm the child. However, if the custody is shared (a joint custody), the parent that wants to move with the child must prove to the court that the move is in the child’s best interest, which may be a tall task. Because the final decision is left to the court and these decisions vary, based on the individual circumstances of each case, it is imperative to seek the best legal counsel available whether you plan on relocating or you are opposed to the other parent’s plans for relocation.

Traveling Out of State and Out of Country

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Calfornia custody attorney, California child abuse lawsAn addiction can be the single most crippling setback that an individual faces in their lifetime. However, when children are involved, it may just be too much to overcome. A parent with an addiction unleashes incredible hardships and even dangers upon their children. Addictions tear families apart by removing home stability, the family’s unity, finances, and families’ physical and mental well being.

A parent's addiction not only presents a threat to the development of the children exposed to the addiction, such as causing poor grades and not being properly cared for, but it also increases the likelihood that the children will one day abuse a substance as well. In fact, one in three children will have begun drinking by the age of 13, according to the National Council on Alcoholism.

Because of this, the state (California’s Child Protective Services) may remove children from drug or alcohol-abusing homes or parents. Likewise, in the scenario of a divorce, the parent without the addiction will likely be given custody of the children because of the healthier, more stable environment that will come with a sober parent as opposed to an addicted parent. If you are going through a divorce that is complicated by the presence of an addiction to alcohol, prescription painkillers, or illegal drugs, contact an experienced San Jose child custody attorney today for a consultation about the direction you wish to go.

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Posted on in Visitation

Calfornia custody lawyer, California family law attorneyDivorces can be messy. While primary custody is most often given to one of the parents, or shared, other family members deserve to stay in touch with the children of a divorced couple too. Grandparents are an integral part of most children’s upbringing, and may be left out of the custody or visitation rights agreement if they or others do not take action. Under California law, a grandparent has the right to ask the court’s permission for legal visitation rights. If you wish to stay in touch with your grandchildren, there are options to take in order to guarantee that that happens, and talking with an experienced child custody attorney may offer just the help you need. Don’t let this go to chance; contact an attorney today to discuss your options.

 

The Role Grandparents Play in American Homes

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child custody modification, San Jose child custody lawyerThe only thing that is constant when it comes to children or life, in general, is change. Sometimes situations with your child change so much that a custody or visitation order in place with your co-parent no longer fits the current circumstances. Luckily, California law allows parents to seek modification of custody or parenting orders.

Seeking Child Custody Modification in California 

There is not a set time limit after a custody order has been issued before you can seek a modification. The law, however, does require that the party seeking modification prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances before the court will consider the request. Getting the court to hear a modification request is just the first step in the process. Before the court grants you the changes to the order, you will have to demonstrate that the changes are in the child’s best interest.

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new significant other, custody-case, Santa Clara child custody lawyerAfter a couple breaks up, it is natural for both of them to want to move on. However, when you have a shared child and a custody case pending, the other parent and the court have a right to know more about the people you are spending time with, especially if that time is spent around your child.

How a Court Makes a Custody Decision

When a judge in California is making a decision about who should have custody of a child or what a visitation or parenting time schedule should be, the judge must consider what is in the best interest of a child. Some of the factors a judge considers include:

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