Category Archives: Child Custody

what happens to the kids when the custodial parent dies

What Happens to the Kids When the Custodial Parent Dies?

The obituary stated that Carol Smith was survived by her two children, Peter and Cindy. What it didn’t mention was the difficult situation Peter, Cindy, and their loved ones faced. During her divorce from the children’s father, the court granted sole physical custody to Carol. Where the children would live, and with whom, could be uncertain now that Carol is gone. When a custodial parent dies, some hard decisions may lie ahead. Continue reading

homeschooling divorce and the coronavirus shut down

Homeschooling, Divorce, and the Coronavirus Shut Down

Most parents focus on keeping their children safe from harm and preparing them for the future. How you handle this during a divorce becomes complicated even without the extra concerns associated with a public health emergency. For example, education is essential, but so is protecting your kids from COVID-19. How can you educate your children without sending them to school?  We need to find ways for homeschooling, divorce, and the coronavirus shut down to co-exist peacefully for the sake of our children. Continue reading

Helping Kids Cope with divorce and COVID-19

Helping Kids Cope with Divorce and COVID-19

Modern life can be hectic, even without complications like divorce and COVID-19. Adult stress levels are at all-time highs right now. But what about our children? How are they handling major lifestyle changes? As a divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parent, helping kids cope with both divorce and COVID-19 may be a high priority. In this article, we offer some tips that may help you and your children. Continue reading

Where california stands on the national parents organization annual report card

Where California Stands on the National Parents Organization Annual Report Card

Most parents want the best for their children. However, when you are in the middle of a divorce, the ‘best’ thing for your children can be challenging to determine. For this reason, California Family Courts and lawyers use existing California laws to address child-related issues in a divorce proceeding. Groups like the National Parents Organization are dedicated to reforming child support and custody nationwide. In fact, they issue an annual report card that gives each state a grade based on how they handle parenting issues in divorce. Read on to learn more about how California fared in the most recent annual report – and why it matters. Continue reading


Can I Change My Child Custody Arrangements?

Melinda and Josh had moved on, literally, after receiving their final divorce order. They each moved to new homes and both eventually started new relationships. Each parent developed new hobbies and interests they wanted their three children to enjoy. But they soon learned that changes in one divorced parent’s life can affect a child’s relationship with the other. Melinda and Josh found it more difficult to stick to their child custody arrangements but agreeing on new schedules seemed impossible. Like many other divorced parents, they needed to review and change their child custody arrangements. Continue reading

Parenting During a Pandemic The COVID-19 Impact on Custody and Visitation

Parenting During a Pandemic: The COVID-19 Impact on Custody and Visitation

Parenting after a divorce means setting up custody and visitation arrangements. At the end of the divorce, a judge signs off on a parenting plan that includes a visitation schedule and states what type of custody the parents have. For example, Darlene wanted her children to see their dad, Max, as often as possible. However, Max works in a hospital that cares for COVID-19 patients. Darlene has valid concerns about whether to allow the kids to visit Max. This is especially true for their youngest son, Dax, whose severe asthma puts him in the high-risk category for COVID-19 complications. As Darlene and Max struggle to work out their new lives, they face unique situations and uncharted waters. Continue reading

3 Tips for Handling a Child Custody Dispute

3 Tips for Handling a Child Custody Dispute

Divorce can be very upsetting, even if your marriage was a disaster. When children are involved, stress and emotions amp up even more. You may want to focus on helping your children cope with the changes in their lives, but you also have to meet with your ex-spouse to negotiate a parenting plan. After all, the court expects it – and will not finalize your divorcee without that plan. However, you can survive handling a child custody dispute. The following three tips may help.
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Can Cooperative Parenting Work for You

Can Cooperative Parenting Work for You?

Parenting issues are paramount when moms and dads divorce. Deciding where Sally and Johnny spend holidays and weekends can quickly become the most hotly contested issue in an already contentious situation. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you are involved in a custody battle, spend some time thinking about whether cooperative parenting can work for you, your ex-spouse and, especially, for your children.
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My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Anything How to Negotiate Divorce Issues

My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Anything: How to Negotiate Divorce Issues

Constant bickering and disagreements can lead a couple to turn to divorce. However, after filing the petition, the unhappy couple now have to resolve a lot of serious issues they couldn’t settle while they were married! If you and your spouse can’t agree on anything, be prepared. You still have to negotiate  divorce issues to reach a settlement. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
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How to Handle Holidays in Your Parenting Plan

How to Handle Holidays in Your Parenting Plan

Every year, Jessie’s parents fought over where she would spend Thanksgiving. Ethan had the opposite problem – both his parents preferred to spend holidays on exotic (and childless) vacations. Sheila hated talking to her ex-husband about the kids’ holidays, so she unhappily capitulated year after year. If you are in the process of getting divorced, know that it’s best to handle holidays in your parenting plan and not on a holiday-to-holiday basis.

Two Major Topics, Many Choices

Parents must complete a parenting plan before finalizing their divorce. In a California divorce, parenting plans cover two major areas:

  • Time-Share – how the children’s time will be split between parents; and
  • Decision making – how decisions about the children’s health, education, and welfare will be handled by the parents.

That sounds fairly easy – until you think of how many topics fall under each major area. For example, Time-Share involves a child’s regular schedule as well as how their time will be spent during holidays.

Scheduling Holiday Time

Trying to decide where your kids will spend Christmas and their birthdays can be stressful. Both parents may want the same days and times. Flexibility and spontaneity work sometimes, but the best time to plan your holidays is when you’re preparing your parenting plan.

In fact, parents prepare and attach a form titled “Children’s Holiday Schedule Attachment” to their parenting plan before submitting it for court approval. The form includes major holidays, as well as:

  • Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12),
  • President’s Day,
  • Spring Break (first and second halves),
  • Columbus Day,
  • Halloween,
  • Veterans Day (November 11),
  • Thanksgiving weekend,
  • December/January School Break, and
  • Birthdays, including child, mom, and dad.

Other options include:

  • Times. For example, the child may be with the mom from 8 pm Christmas Eve until noon Christmas Day.
  • Every Year. For instance, the child may spend Thanksgiving with Dad every year instead of alternating with Mom.
  • Even-Numbered/Odd-Numbered Years. Mom may have the kids on Christmas on even-numbered years, with Dad taking them on odd-numbered years. So, Dad would have them in 2019 and Mom in 2020.

According to the form, the child’s holiday schedule takes priority over the normal parenting schedule. For example, Dad may have the kids every weekend. However, if Christmas falls on Sunday, and it is Mom’s year according to the holiday schedule, then the kids go with Mom.

Scheduling Holidays in Your Parenting Plan Doesn’t Have to Be A Hassle

Do your homework when preparing your plans. If disagreements arise later, know that help is available from the courts if necessary.

Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.