Category Archives: Termination of Parental Rights

May an Imprisoned Parent Have Child Visitation Rights in California?

May an Imprisoned Parent Have Child Visitation Rights in California?

Almost 200,000 kids in California have a parent in jail. This can create complex parenting and custody issues. One of the thorniest problems can be child visitation rights for the incarcerated parent. The parent’s crimes, existing relationship with the child and other parent, and the attitude of the Family Court all have an impact on decisions.

Under California law, any solution must ensure the child’s best interests. This means there can be many options and solutions. Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger examines the question, “May an imprisoned parent have child visitation rights in California?”

Fast Facts About CA Child Custody and Incarceration

Although there are thousands of families with an incarcerated parent, there is much confusion surrounding this issue. Here are some fast facts about the topic:

  1. Incarceration does not automatically terminate your parenting rights. This can only happen in a limited number of situations.
  2. Imprisonment in California is not automatically considered abandonment of a child as it is in a few other states.
  3. Child custody and parental rights are different issues. The other parent or a grandparent may be granted custodial care of your child while you are in jail, but this does not surrender your parental rights.
  4. Incarceration does not abrogate you from your child support obligations. Making child support payments can help prove you have not abandoned your child and take your parental responsibilities seriously.
  5. You are still entitled to be present in any hearing regarding your parental rights and the matters relating to your child while in prison.  

Child Visitation Rights for CA Inmates

A Family Court may determine that the child’s best interests are met by granting visitation rights to an incarcerated parent. If so, there will likely be stringent guidelines to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. A California Family Law Attorney like Judy L. Burger can help the inmate negotiate the best possible conditions for visiting with their child.

A new law in California takes effect on January 1, 2024, to make it easier for incarcerated parents to obtain visitation rights with their children. The Keep Families Close Act now allows incarcerated parents to request a transfer to a facility near their families. Since 2019 data from the CDCR revealed that over 75% of incarcerated persons are located over 100 miles from their homes, this legislation is a welcome boon for inmates.

According to California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) data from 2019, over 75% of people in prisons are incarcerated more than 100 miles away from their homes  According to CDCR data from 2019, over 75% of people in prisons are incarcerated over 100 miles away from their homes. Parents who committed crimes against their child or other serious crimes are exempted.

Moreover, the Family Dignity Act will make the visitation process for families simpler by adopting digital technology. Families will now be able to scan and upload birth certificates so they can be digitally retrieved on each visit and not have to be brought every time.

Help with Child Custody, Support, and Visitation Matters in California

Child custody, support, and visitation issues with an incarcerated parent can be difficult and many factors can impact the court’s decisions. A parent sentenced to prison, currently in prison, or about to be released from prison will need counsel and representation from a CA Family Law Attorney. Similarly, the custodial parent or guardian of the child will need advice and representation to ensure the child’s best interests are ensured.

Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger and her team understand the specific challenges relating to an incarcerated parent and their family. We can help you work out the best arrangements for your family’s welfare and happiness during any phase of the parent’s jail tenure. Contact the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger by phone or online to request a confidential consultation.

Emergency Child Custody Issues in California

Emergency Child Custody Issues in California

Petitions for changes in child custody agreements can be filed with the court when circumstances change and new arrangements are needed. These requests are scheduled for the next available hearing on the family court’s calendar. However, an ex parte petition can be filed immediately when you encounter emergency child custody issues in California

Under California law, Family Code 3064 allows the court to temporarily grant an emergency change in custody without waiting on a full hearing under certain circumstances. This is a short-term solution to protect the safety and welfare of the child while more permanent arrangements are examined. Ex parte orders can influence any final custodial orders issued by the court.

When would such actions be necessary? CA Certified Family Law Specialist Judy L. Burger reviews some possible scenarios when emergency child custody issues can be handled through ex parte hearings. She can explain more and review your situation thoroughly in a confidential consultation at one of our offices.

What Justifies An Emergency Child Custody Petition?

California Family Courts typically allow at least a 15-day notice to involved parties before scheduling a hearing about child custody matters. However, when a true emergency threatens a child’s health and safety, the court can issue immediate orders to prevent harmful actions. Ex parte orders, sometimes called “emergency orders,” may be granted in select situations, including:

  • Child abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • A parent’s physical or mental health condition
  • A parent’s arrest for drug use, drunk driving, or another serious crime
  • A sex offender in the home

Your request for an emergency child custody order must include definite evidence that such conditions exist and are a direct threat to the child. Heresy or opinions are not sufficient grounds for the court to immediately remove a child from another parent’s custody. Credible witnesses, photos, videos, text messages, or police reports are solid proof that the child is in danger and emergency orders are necessary to protect the child’s interests.

How Do I Request an Emergency Child Custody Action in CA?

​In addition to demonstrating a clear and imminent danger to the child’s welfare, you must provide several other items of information in your ex parte petition. These include the following:

  • Legal request form
  • Identity and contact information for the other parent and/or their attorneys
  • Current child custody, visitation, and support orders
  • Any previous requests or orders on this or similar matters
  • Reasons why the other parent should not be notified

Remember, you must provide sufficient evidence demonstrating the harm that could be suffered without the requested emergency custody orders. This is also a temporary solution. A formal hearing with both parents may be scheduled for a later date and other orders may be issued as a result.

It is critical that you adhere to California law in all matters relating to your child and custody matters. Emotional reactions to protect your child that violate the law or existing custody orders can complicate your case. Making decisions under stress can place you on the wrong side of the law.

Contact a California Certified Family Law Specialist to Help You Protect Your Children

Consult with CA Family Law Attorney Judy L. Burger immediately if you suspect an emergency custody action is necessary. She can act quickly to file an ex parte hearing petition and the necessary paperwork while helping you gather the required evidence to support your request. As a Certified Family Law Specialist in California, she can help you follow the law and protect your child.

Ms. Burger is not intimidated by difficult or high-conflict custody matters. She firmly believes that children must be protected from abusive, inappropriate, or other dangerous behavior and actions by parents or others. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will not rest until your child is safe. We will also work with you to completely resolve this matter in the best interests of your child and family.

Contact one of our eight offices in California today to discuss emergency child custody issues with a Certified Family Law Specialist who is on your side.