Articles Posted in Child Custody

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out of stateCan my former spouse move out of state and take our child? The question is all too familiar to many individuals who have gone through a divorce. Initially, maybe both parents lived reasonably close and custodial arrangements were relatively simple. But what happens when one spouse gets a job out of state, gets remarried and is compelled to move, or simply chooses to start life over someplace else? What if your ex moves out of state, or just further away without your knowledge or without changes in the visitation agreement? In these situations, an experienced family law attorney might be worth calling.

Child Custody Arrangements – Moving out of State

Physical custody of children in a divorce can either be joint or sole. If the spouse who is moving out of state has sole physical custody of the child, it is presumed any move would involve the child. That being said, both parents must work through an agreement as to what new visitation will look like. This might be done through mediation, but, if that method is unsuccessful, the court will have to make a determination. The spouse who is moving may have to agree to longer visits for the non-custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent may have to live with far fewer visits.

In a joint custody situation, the bottom line is the same. While the court cannot prevent either parent from moving, it can definitely rule against taking a child if the disruption is considered too severe.

Remember, the best interests of the child are always the court’s bottom line.  That means considering several issues:

  • The relationship of the child with each parent;
  • The relationship of the parents with one another;
  • The relationship of the child with siblings and step- or half-siblings;
  • The degree to which visitation is currently utilized;
  • Whether or not the move is designed to restrict access to the child;
  • School, routines, etc.;
  • The wishes of the child, depending on the child’s age;
  • Quality of life for the child.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

What if the parent who moves wishes for the court in the new state to make custody rulings?  The UCCJEA has been adopted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It lays out the circumstances under which the court may make a decision regarding custody, and when another state must accept that decision. The general expectations are:

  • It is the child’s home state, and the child has lived there for the previous six months and has noteworthy connections to the community through schools, medical visits, and/or family;
  • The child is currently in the state and is at risk of abuse or neglect if sent back to another state;
  • Another state does not meet the criteria above, or has declined to make any custody decisions.

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Custody ArrangementsIssues with Child custody arrangements? Although divorce and broken domestic partnerships are all too common in the country, your own experience is personal and potentially heart wrenching. Naturally, the most traumatic splits often involve children and custody arrangements. If you are seeking to end your relationship with a spouse or domestic partner and minor children are involved, it is imperative that you have an experienced family law attorney by your side from the beginning.

Considerations in Determining Child Custody Arrangements

California statute expressly commands that the best interests of the child be factored in when determining custody arrangements. A number of specific elements are included in this determination, with an eye toward consistency for the child:

  • Age of the children;
  • Relationship with other children in the home;
  • Type and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child;
  • Physical and/or mental health of everyone involved;
  • Parent attitude toward facilitating an continuing relationship with the other parent;
  • Care-giving history;
  • Stable and loving setting;
  • Physical environment and space;
  • Ability to provide adequately for the emotional and physical needs of the child, including medical care;
  • Current levels of attachment to the home, school, neighborhood, etc.;
  • The child’s wishes, when old enough to express them;
  • Domestic violence issues;
  • Illegal drug use or abuse of legal substances;
  • False accusations made by one parent against another.

Potential Child Custody Arrangements

Most people think of custody as having to do primarily with where the child lives, but there is another type of custody worth noting in California:

Legal custody refers to decision-making ability for the child. It may be awarded in one of two ways:

  • Sole custody: One parent has the final say on all major health, education and welfare decisions;
  • Joint custody: Parents share all major decisions.

Physical custody may be sole or joint as well. A parent having sole custody has the child most of the time and provides visitation with the non-custodial parent. In a joint custody arrangement, an attempt to provide equivalent amounts of time with each parent is made.

Custody arrangements are always particular to the specifics of each case. In fact, while one parent may have physical custody, the other may have legal custody.  A judge whose primary consideration is the best interest of the child views each situation carefully.

Child Visitation

In a situation in which one parent has less than half of the time with a child, visitation orders will be necessary. These comes in many variations, with four basic frameworks:

  • No visitation:  When physical or emotional harm is a risk;
  • Supervised visitation: When a professional agency, another adult, or the other parent is required to be present during the visit to ensure the child’s safety;
  • Scheduled visitation:  When the court lays out a schedule in concert with both parents;
  • Reasonable visitation:  When parents work out an open-ended visitation agreement based on communications between them.

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girl with mother in the parkOne critical child custody question for someone facing divorce. What will happen to the children?. Where custody is in dispute, divorcing spouses must rely on a court to make a decision regarding child custody. Many parents approach custody hearings wondering whether the court will give preference to a child’s mother over the father.

Child Custody in California

Under California law, child custody actually includes two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to the actual place where the child will live–the child’s legal residence. A parent who has physical custody has the primary responsibility to house, feed, and care for the child. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions for the child, such as decisions regarding the child’s education, schooling, health, religion, or the like.

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The role of co-parenting after divorce. A divorce or separation can be extremely difficult on a couple’s children. All of a sudden, the kids go from living in a seemingly stable two-parent household to being caught in the middle of a bitter break-up. In particular, having to go back and forth between the father’s house and the mother’s house can be a traumatic change. There is no way to completely shield children from the negative effects of this process. However, by putting in place a good co-parenting plan, the separating couple can ease some of the difficulty for their children.

co-parenting

Strategies for an Effective Co-Parenting Arrangement

Here are some suggestions for creating a co-parenting arrangement that works for everyone:

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You may have seen the cursing toddler viral video of a two-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, toddler repeating curse words as a group of adults teach him and cheer him on. The video was released by the Omaha Police Department, ostensibly as a way of drawing attention to some of the problems the city faces. The video sparked outrage, directed at both the police for releasing the video, and the boy’s mother for putting her son into that environment. Some people even accused the 17-year-old mother of child endangerment, and demanded that the state forcibly remove the child from the mother’s custody.

SwearingCursing toddler to remain with mother

The mother did not make matters any better when she defended her son and herself from critics, stating that she was out of the room when filming occurred and that her son does not normally talk that way. However, an Omaha juvenile court judge ruled that the mother can maintain custody of her son, and both mother and son would be placed with the same foster family. After the video went viral, the mother and son were both removed from their home and placed in child protective custody. Their removal actually had very little to do with the video. Authorities said adults in the household “repeatedly allowed known gang members into their home.” At one point the state even tried to help relocate the family out of Omaha.

Child Endangerment Can Lead to Parents Losing Children

The state can take a child from his parents if it determines that the child has been severely neglected or abused. This can take many forms, such as ignoring a child’s medical needs, allowing him to become obese, expressing extreme disinterest in the child, or inflicting severe emotional damage to the child. In this case, the mother allowed her child to have continual contact with adults who clearly were not interested in the child’s well-being, and actively inflicted emotional harm on him. The judge apparently determined that the mother was more a victim than victimizer, and therefore should not lose custody of her son.

There are other factors that often lead to parents losing custody of their children. One is abandonment, in which the parent or parents simply leave the child on the street, with a relative, or with a foster family. Along the same lines, parents who fail to support or maintain contact with their children can lose custody. Parents who suffer from long-term mental illness or addiction can have their children removed from the home if the state determines that such action is in the best interests of the children. Long-term incarceration can lead to loss of custody, for obvious reasons. Finally, failure to follow the directives of child services can result in a loss of custody.

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Bode Miller and his ex-girlfriend are engaged in a unique custody dispute that could have major consequences for this area of law. Many Americans watched skier Bode Miller compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics over the past two weeks, as he capped off his legendary career with a bronze medal in the Super G event. He also generated a great deal of sympathy from viewers around the world when he broke down in tears during his post-race interview. But a custody dispute story involving Miller has made headlines in the world of family law, even as it was swept aside during the television coverage of the Olympics.

Skier The conflict centers on Miller’s ex-girlfriend’s decision to move to another state while she was pregnant with Miller’s child, but after they had broken up. The issue is whether she had a right to do this and what implications her decision has for deciding custody of the child.

Custody Dispute initiated in Moving From California to New York

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If a separating couple can agree on a parenting plan, the court will usually issue an order reflecting those terms.

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When a married couple with children decides to separate, one of the first steps they should take is to try and reach an agreement regarding how their children will be cared for after the separation occurs. In most cases, if the separating couple can agree on a parenting plan the court will issue a court order reflecting those terms.
The court will make a decision regarding custody and visitation when separating parents cannot reach an agreement.
When a separating couple cannot agree on a parenting plan, a judge will issue a decision regarding custody and visitation. This may take some time, because certain criteria will need to be met before a decision is issued. For example, separating parents are required to meet with a court appointed counselor. In some instances, the counselor will provide the judge with a recommendation regarding the appropriate child custody and visitation arrangement. In addition, the judge may order that some or all family members undergo psychological evaluations.

However, if there are immediate concerns that need to be addressed, the court will issue a temporary order. Circumstances that may require a temporary order include when one parent is moving to another jurisdiction and wants to take the children along or when parents cannot agree on what school their children should attend.
Before issuing a final custody and visitation determination, the judge will consider what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. This determination will be made based on the information gathered through evaluations and other information submitted to the court. In addition, if the children involved are, “of sufficient age and capacity to reason” the court may consider their wishes regarding custody and visitation.
Typically, custody will be awarded to one or both parents. However, if the court determines that awarding custody to either parent would be detrimental or harmful to the child, they may award custody to another adult. There are several types of custody that the court may consider:
Joint Legal Custody: This gives both parents the right and obligation to make significant decisions regarding their children’s health, welfare, and education.
Sole Legal Custody: This give one parent the right and obligation to make significant decisions regarding the children’s health, welfare, and education.
Joint Physical Custody: Children live with both parents, although not necessarily for equal amounts of time.
Sole Physical Custody: Children live with one parent and the other parent has visitation rights.

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Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark child custody legislation that expands the authority of California family law courts when it comes to making child custody determinations. The new child custody legislation allows California family law courts to recognize three or more individuals as the legal parents of a child. Accordingly, a court’s child custody orders can require more than two individuals to share physical and/or financial responsibility for raising a child.

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Legislation was authored by Sen. Leno in order to ensure that California law reflected current family dynamics.
Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) authored the legislation in order to ensure that California’s family law provisions reflected changes in the way families are structured within the State. Specifically, to recognize the increasing number of same sex couples having children with a biological parents of the opposite sex.
In support of the measure, Senator Leno explained that California’s family law courts should be able to issue child custody rulings which recognize circumstances where multiple individuals act in a parental capacity by providing support and care for a child. He when on to explain that providing judges with the authority to issue rulings that would allow more than two parents to share custody of a child will help prevent situations where a child is forced to deal with separation from an individual they have always considered a parent and is therefore in their best interest.
Senator Leno authored the bill after a 2011 court decision, which sent the daughter of a same sex couple to foster care when both women lost custody. The girl was sent to foster care despite the fact that her biological father wanted to assume custody. The court reasoned that the biological father did not have parental rights.
Conservative groups opposed the legislation, viewing it as an attack on traditional families.
The measure was opposed by a number of conservative organizations who deemed the new legislation as an attack on traditional families. Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, responded to news of Gov. Brown signing the new legislation by stating that he was disappointed in the decision. He argues that the legislation was a mistake because it will lead to more complicated family law proceedings that will be detrimental to children in the long run.
Last year, Gov. Brown vetoed a bill similar to the one signed into law on Friday. It is unclear what changed the Governor’s mind on the issue.

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HOW FAMOUS PEOPLE SUCH AS DANICA PATRICK, PAMELA ANDERSON, KATIE HOLMES, MICHAEL JACKSON AND STEVEN SPIELBERG DEAL WITH THE LEGALITIES OF A LONG TERM BREAK-UP

Hollywood.jpg Believe it or not, the odds of a marriage ending in divorce are the same for celebrities as they are for the rest of the population (currently 50%); however, attorneys handling high profile divorce must have the know-how and experience to maintain the high level of privacy necessary for the high profile clients. We at Beck Law maintain that privacy for every client, no matter the circumstance.

While Honey Boo Boo’s parents, June “Mama June” Shannon and Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, exchanged vows in their backyard in Georgia while Shannon sported a camouflage and orange tulle wedding gown (People reports), we find Danica Patrick, one of the most notable Formula, Indycar and NASCAR drivers in the history of American auto racing, ending her marriage to Paul Hospenthal as quietly and privately as possible, given her fame and fortune.

Some high end divorces last, well . . . not very long. For example: here is a link to famously short marriages that includes Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson (4 months), Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker (6 hours), the famous Kim Kardashian marriage of 72 days and the Las Vegas marriage of Brittany Spears and Jason Alexander (55 hours). Further, celebrity divorce can be very expensive: Michael Jordan reportedly had to settle his divorce action for more than $150 million to his wife of 21 years. Steven Spielberg, worth about $3 billion, settled with Amy Irving after four years of marriage for $100 million.

Attorneys handling any divorce, including a high profile divorce, must keep in mind not only attorney-client privacy, but also protection of clients’ personal information as well. Not only must the attorney reach the best divorce settlement, an attorney representing a high profile client, or any divorce client, must consider the client’s image, the client’s wishes, the client’s children and family dynamics and how information in the legal proceedings is being distributed to the public; the attorney must adopt the mindset of a public relations expert to maintain the reputations and public images of all clients, including high profile clients.

Law firms, who handle divorce on a daily basis, should have sensitivity to their clients’ needs, and take extraordinary measures regarding resolving issues surrounding the emotional turmoil of the loss of marriage and the special needs of child custody and child visitation.

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Primary custody being sought by Usher Raymond’s ex-wife following the near drowning of Grammy winner Usher Raymond’s 5 year old son. Usher Raymond’s ex-wife Tameka Foster Raymond sought and was granted an emergency hearing in order to request custody of the former couple’s two children. The couple were married in 2007 and divorced two years later. Following a lengthy child custody battle, Mr. Raymond was awarded primary custody of both children.

The former couple’s son nearly drowned after being caught in a pool drain.

According to police reports, the couple’s son fell into the pool and was caught in the pool’s drain while under the supervision of Mr. Raymond’s aunt. A housekeeper tried to free the boy from the drain, but was unsuccessful. A contractor who was working on Mr. Raymond’s property was finally able to free Mr. Raymond’s son from the drain and perform CPR in order to revive the boy.

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The boy’s mother alleged that the children are not adequately supervised under Mr. Raymond’s care and that he does not keep her informed of who is taking care of the children when he is away.

Ms. Raymond’s request alleged that her son suffered from a near-death accident after being left unsupervised at the singer’s home while he was out of town. During the court hearing, which was held at the Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia, both parents took the stand and testified before the presiding judge. Ms. Raymond testified that her ex-husband does not keep her informed of the children’s whereabouts and whose care they are in when Mr. Raymond is out of town. However, testimony revealed that Mr. Raymond’s aunt was sitting poolside watching both children play in the pool. In addition, Mr. Raymond was not out of town, but rather at a music studio just an exit away.

Ms. Raymond’s request was denied, but the Court advised Mr. Raymond to keep her informed of who is taking care of the children when he is away.

The Court denied Ms. Raymond’s request for temporary primary custody, as well as decision making authority. The Judge reasoned that the testimony and other evidence submitted to the Court did not suggest that anything could have been done to prevent the accident. However, the Judge did advise Mr. Raymond to keep his ex-wife abreast of his whereabouts and who is supervising the children when they are not in his care.

California courts allow individuals to make emergency requests regarding visitation and custody orders in certain circumstances.

California also allows individuals to make an emergency request to the court to issue new custody or visitation orders or to change existing custody or visitation orders. This may be done in situations in which circumstances have occurred or may occur, such that it is in the best interest of the child for the court to modify their existing custody or visitation arrangements.

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