Articles Posted in Custody and Visitation

Most people agree that going through a divorce isn’t easy. Even despite best efforts to work together and remain amicable with a soon-to-be ex-spouse during and following a divorce, doing so sometimes proves trickier than people anticipate. Luckily, there are now have several useful apps that can make interacting with your ex-spouse a little easier as outlined in the USA Today article below:

7 Divorce Apps Help Navigate Life With Your Ex

OurFamilyWizard is an app that many parties with children use. OurFamilyWizard, sometimes referred to as OFW, has several features which parents find useful, the first of which is a secure message board for parents to communicate through. This is helpful if parents find communicating through other methods, such as texting, difficult. Some of the app’s other features include an interactive calendar which parents can use to schedule who has the kids on which days and what upcoming extra-curricular activities the children may be participating in. It also has an expense logto help track the children’s expenses so that one parent can easily reimburse the other. Parents can also upload receipts and invoices for these expenses, and for an added fee, even make payments within OurFamilyWizard.  The app also has the ability to store medical history, insurance information, emergency contact information, and school schedules. OurFamilyWizard costs $99 annually.

As part of their “Blended Family Friday “series, the Huffington Post ran the following article about two divorced parents and how they “co-parent” their child.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/05/advice-for-blended-families-_n_7515012.html?utm_hp_ref=divorce&ir=Divorce

The article highlights just how important it is for parents to work together to raise their children, even after they are separated. Divorced or separated parents are often so angry at the other parent, that they cannot see past their issues with each other to really work together to figure out what is best for their children. When parents cannot agree on issues such as schooling, visitation schedule changes and even day-to-day parenting issues, they are left with little choice but to turn to their attorneys, requesting discussions with opposing counsel and/or the court’s intervention. This results in both parties incurring significant and often unnecessary, attorney fees and costs, and causes stress not only for the parents, but for the children as well. Ultimately, it results in a judge making a decision about children he or she has never met. Clearly, a child’s parents are better suited to be making such decisions.

Some San Jose divorce, custody and/or support matters are assigned to a department where a judge is presiding, while other matters are heard in front of a commissioner. So, what is the difference between the two, and is one better than another?

A judge is elevated to the bench either by election or by appointment by the Governor. A judge must also be a licensed attorney to be eligible to serve on the bench. A commissioner, on the other hand, is an individual who is hired by the court to help out with a judge’s case load. Commissioners must also be licensed attorneys to be eligible to serve as a commissioner. Often, Commissioners work very closely with judges, and judges consider them essential for managing the work of the court.

Commissioners can perform judicial duties involving the determination of contested issues only upon the stipulation of the parties, but with that stipulation they have the same powers as judges. That means that the commissioner has the same power as a judge to hear a court case and make legally binding judgments. Per California Code of Civil Procedure Section 259, “[s]ubject to the supervision of the court, every court commissioner shall have power to do all of the following:

Most people recognize that divorce isn’t easy on children, no matter what the circumstances surrounding the divorce are. However,  for may reasons, it is helpful to try to keep the divorce process as low-conflict and as amicable as possible.

Some couples are implementing “nesting”, also known as “birdnesting”, as a way to ease the impact of divorce on their children. So what is nesting? Generally, nesting occurs where parents keep the main house and then share a separate house or apartment where they will stay when they are not at the main home with the children.

The idea behind nesting is that it is less disruptive for the children to remain in the family home, and have the parents rotate to the separate location, as opposed to shuffling children back and forth between two different households. This type of nesting is beneficial to children because not only do they get to stay in a home that is familiar to them (and thus relieving the need to take belongings to different homes), but it often allows them to remain at the same school and keep in touch with friends.

Emergency Screenings can be a difficult concept for parents to face, whether they are the parent who has requested a screening or the parent who has been served with a request for a screening.

The court will typically order an emergency screening in a child custody case when a Judge has found that an immediate emergency may exist involving the children and that possible emergency warrants further investigation. Examples of instances in which this can occur include allegations of drug and alcohol abuse by one or both of the parents, allegations of violence against the child/children, allegations of neglect by one or both of the parents, involvement in a Child Protective Services Investigation, etc. There can be a number of reasons that the court can order an emergency screening take place, particularly if there is a risk to the health, safety or welfare of your child.

According to Santa Clara County Court Rule 2, “in any case in which an emergency exists, the Court may order a staff member of FCS (other than the mediator) to conduct and emergency screening (a preliminary and limited investigation), to make recommendations regarding the temporary custody, visitation and related conditions for the minor children.”

People.com recently reported that in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce case, a family law judge has made an order that Brad Pitt may contact the parties’ children directly, at any time.

https://people.com/movies/brad-pitt-unrestricted-phone-access-kids-report/

Communication between a non-custodial parent and the children is often a “hot button” issue in contentious custody and divorce cases. Contact us at (408) 564-5674 for a free 20-minute telephone consultation and we can answer questions related to this issue, and any other questions you have relating to your San Jose divorce or custody case.

There are many things to take into consideration when you are considering initiating a divorce action in California. The State Bar of California website has a general checklist for what you need to know about divorce and custody, which is a great resource for parties involved in, or thinking about filing for divorce and/or custody. The following are the areas addressed in the article:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/DivorceCustody.aspx

1. What are the grounds for divorce in California?

Minor’s counsel must act in the best interests of the child and represents only the child. Their role is to consider the best interests of the child without being bound by the emotions that often come with contested child custody cases.

Minor’s counsel acts as neutral voice for the child. They do not prefer one parent over another and they do not act on behalf of either or both parents.

In California child custody cases, minors are rarely allowed to testify in court or speak with the Judge directly. Only in very rare circumstances does this occur. But, children have a right to be heard and therefore, Judge’s will often appoint minor’s counsel to interview a child about their concerns and preferences as it relates to custody.

When going through a divorce, the best case scenario is that everyone remains amicable and the need for litigation is avoided.

However, if litigation is inevitable, both sides at least want to try to come out of the process financially secure. These are common mistakes, all of which are avoidable, but all of which almost always end up costing you when going to court:

1. Going to court without a lawyer

Becoming a single mom in your 30s might sound like everyone’s worst nightmare.

You have married the man that you thought would be your partner forever, you have a young child or even several children at this point and you are faced with the prospect of a divorce. All of the usual thoughts run through your head: How will I raise a child on my own? How will I explain to my young children that mom and dad no longer want to live together, how will I meet someone new?

While all of these questions can be very daunting and scary to face, as one single mom put it, she was no longer stuck in the “birdcage” that had become her marriage and was able to discover her own happiness in the face of divorce. This was not only incredibly important for her, but for her child as well. She was able to become the best mother she could be to her young toddler without worrying about the unintended consequences of a high conflict relationship. She could face her 40s and a new relationship without all of the pressures many feel throughout their 30s to get married and have children. That gave her a sense of peace in raising her son and taking her time to find an ideal partner before committing to a new partner

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