Divorce can be a stressful and painful experience for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard on children. As a parent, you will want to do everything you can to protect your kids during this difficult time. While you probably won’t be able to completely insulate your children from your divorce, there are measures you can take to support them during the process. Here are 5 ways you can help your kids during divorce: Continue reading
During divorce, parents often establish a schedule that sets out how they will spend time with their kids. Generally, the expectation is that custodial parents will be with their children during their designated care periods. However, there can be situations when a parent may need to leave their children with someone else. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not be comfortable with a third party watching your kids when your ex is away. If that is the case, you may want to consider adding the “Right of First Refusal” to your California parenting agreement. If you have not heard of this term, you may be wondering: Do I need the “right of first refusal” in my custody order? Continue reading
Keeping perspective during divorce can be challenging, especially when parents are fighting over child custody. Sometimes, when parents get very angry with one another, they may inadvertently say and do things that negatively impact their kids. In this situation, a California family court may determine that a Guardian ad Litem (minor’s counsel) needs to be appointed to provide the court with insight into the child’s situation. If you have a disputed California custody matter involving a Guardian ad Litem, you will want to know: What is the role of a Guardian ad Litem in a California child custody case? Continue reading
When a California court needs to make decisions regarding child custody, the judge will consider multiple aspects of the child’s life. Ultimately, what the court decides or the parties agree to must be in the child’s best interest. If you are involved in a California divorce or other child-related case, you may be wondering: What does the “Best Interest of the Child” mean in a California custody case? Continue reading
Going through a divorce with minor children will involve you and your ex making several decisions about their future care. Ultimately, how you share decision-making and time with your kids will become part of a court-ordered parenting plan that you and your ex will be required to follow. Often parents will negotiate and develop their own plan terms rather than leaving decisions about their family up to the court. When they can’t agree, each parent can ask the court to grant their request for their preferred parenting plan terms. Therefore, it will be crucial to know which terms you need in your parenting plan as you proceed through your case. Here is more on the key elements to include in your parenting plan. Continue reading
Ava loved the fact that her husband, Henri, was from France. She felt their son could benefit from being involved in more than one culture. However, her enthusiasm faded when Henri filed for divorce. She feared he would take their son to France where he might live beyond the control of California courts. Liam faced a problem a little closer to home. He learned that his wife was partying in clubs all night while their two-year-old daughter slept in the car. Liam has also noticed unexplained bruises on his little girl. Fearing for his daughter’s safety, he looked to the court system. Both Ava and Liam may need the same protection: an emergency child custody order.
Child Custody and the Divorce Process
Who gets the children is often a hot topic during a divorce. The hope is that parents will do what is best for their children, but this is not always the case.
During a divorce, parents work out a parenting plan, and custody is decided. If parents can’t agree, a judge will assign custody. Of course, negotiating a plan takes times. Sometimes one parent may have to move quickly to protect his or her children.
Grounds for Requesting an Emergency Child Custody Order
It can be difficult to get this kind of order. While California judges always focus on the best interests of the child, they also cannot hand out emergency orders for no reason.
The primary reason for requesting an emergency child custody order is:
“A situation has occurred, or may occur, where it is in the best interest of the child that the court make immediate orders.”
In Ava’s case, she needs to stop her husband from spiriting their son out of the country. Liam needs to stop his wife from neglecting or abusing their child. Neither situation can wait, so they ask for emergency child custody orders. The court may grant each a temporary order that takes effect immediately. However, the court will schedule a hearing before granting a more permanent order.
Call Immediately if You Need an Emergency Child Custody Order
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce proceedings, including ex parte hearings and emergency child custody orders.Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.
Between Jiu-jitsu, football, and violin lessons, some parents may spend hours every week taking their children to extracurricular activities. The job is even more difficult for divorced parents who may struggle to meet the requirements of their parenting agreement. Parents may disagree on the scheduling of activities, the cost, or even just the type of activity. One parent may feel their child should be in a sports program, while the other leans toward robotics or coding. But how important are these activities? Will extracurricular activities affect visitation for children of divorced parents?
Extracurricular Activities Are Important
Little League, Girl Scouts, and chess club are fun activities that also provide some crucial benefits, including:
- Better academic performance,
- Higher self-esteem,
- Improved social skills,
- Problem-solving and sharper analytical skills, and
- More impressive college applications.
However, coordinating math club or gymnastics with an ex-spouse is sometimes not easy.
Time with Your Parents Is Important, Too
How will one parent feel when the other parent schedules an extracurricular activity during their visitation time? Typically, the parent who has custody of the child at the time takes the child to scheduled activities. Problems can arise, especially when ‘fun’ activities’ coincide with a parent’s work or activity schedule. Sometimes a parent feels the activity is not important in their child’s life.
Some of these difficulties can be ironed out in one important divorce document: the parenting plan.
Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Agreements
The type of custody arrangement reached in divorce affects school and extracurricular activities. In a California divorce, custody falls into several categories:
- Physical Custody has to do with where the child lives. Joint physical custody means the child lives with both parents. However, sole or primary custody means that the child lives with one parent and visits the other parent.
- Legal Custody relates to the important decisions that parents make for their children. Parents with joint legal custody share the right to make decisions about the children. However, a parent with sole legal custody handles decision-making on their own.
Does one parent have sole legal custody of the children? If so, that parent has the final say on extracurricular activities. However, the non-custodial parent can object or ask for changes to the parenting agreement or visitation schedule.
What Impact Extracurricular Activities Have on Visitation Depends
If parents amicably agree on the when and how of extracurriculars, they can avoid having a judge make decisions for them.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, child custody, and child visitation. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
The Parenting PlanA divorcing couple with kids negotiates a parenting plan as part of their settlement. It’s sometimes called a custody and visitation agreement because a big part of the plan involves custody and visitation. In fact, parenting plans typically spell out who will have the children at certain times and for how long. Holidays and summer vacations usually are an important part of the negotiations that go into the parenting plan. After parents reach an agreement, a judge signs a custody order binding the parents to the agreement. Does this mean the custody and visitation agreements will never change?
Modifications to the Plan?It is possible to negotiate changes to a visitation schedule. This may require the court’s approval in certain circumstances. However, the parents may agree on a new way of handling visitation without court intervention. Sophia and Jack share legal custody of Noah, but Sophia has primary physical custody. Most of the time, they have no trouble adjusting their visitation schedule. This time is different, though. Jack’s work schedule has changed, and he would like to have more time with Noah over the summer. They may want to negotiate a modification of their parenting plan and have it approved by the court. But Sophia and Jack’s most important consideration should be what is right for Noah.
What Should You Focus on When You Coordinate Summer Vacations with Your Ex?What course of action serves the best interests of your child? Maybe there’s no compelling reason to deny your ex’s summer vacation plans. However, if you feel your children may be in danger or harmed in some way by those plans, discuss your options with a divorce attorney immediately. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce proceedings, including child visitation plans and modifications. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Parents may be able to mutually agree upon a parenting plan for their children. Sometimes, though, a judge has to decide how child custody will be handled before a divorce is finalized. No matter how or when the decisions were made, there may come a time that parents have to modify child custody arrangements.
Making the Decision
Parenting Plans and child custody arrangements typically are made keeping the best interests of the child in mind. But people and circumstances change. Some of the common reasons for altering a child custody arrangement include:
- Refusing to allow the non-custodial parent to contact or visit the children;
- Putting the children in an unsafe or dangerous environment;
- Relocation of the non-custodial parent.
In addition, children may ask for a change in custody. Children over the age of 12 may be permitted to tell the judge who they want to live with.
Once one or both parents decide that changes should be made, the court becomes involved.
Filing the Paperwork
The parent requesting the change will file a Request for Order with the court. An additional form – the child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment is optional but may be helpful. Remember that you need to show a significant change in circumstances or some compelling reason to modify child custody arrangements.
After filing the Request for Order, you will be given a date to appear in court or to meet with a mediator. Court proceedings can be complicated, especially if the parents are unable to reach their own agreement.
Attending a Hearing
If parents are unable to arrive at a revised custody plan through mediation, they may have to appear in court. The judge may take limited testimony but may rely heavily on the documents filed with the clerk. After making a decision, the judge signs an order altering the terms of the custody arrangement.
It’s Possible to Modify Child Custody Arrangements
However, the court must see significant reasons to change custody before doing so. As always, California courts consider the best interests of the child in making any decisions.To discuss how to modify child custody arrangements, please call us at 415-293-8314. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Travelling with a child can be difficult. Plans may have to be arranged around the child’s schedule and, of course, your luggage may be stuffed with kid-friendly items. Taking a trip outside the United States requires even more planning, especially if the child needs a passport. Divorced parents may find it difficult to get passports for their children due to the Two-Parent Consent Law.
The Two-Parent Consent Law
This law, found in 22 U.S.C. 213n and 22 C.F.R. 51.28, applies to a parent seeking a passport for minors who are age 16 or younger. Under the Two-Parent Consent Law, both parents or guardians must apply for the passport and provide evidence of parentage or legal guardianship.
If only one parent applies, that parent must provide at least one legal document showing the parent has sole custody of the child such as:
- A birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States, or Certification of Report of Birth giving the name of only the parent applying for the passport.
- A death certificate for the non-applying parent.
- An adoption decree naming only one parent for the child.
- An order granting sole custody to the applying parent.
- An order terminating legal custody of the other parent.
When parents are granted joint custody, both parents generally must apply for the passport. For humanitarian or emergency reasons, sometimes the circumstances need a different approach.
Exceptions to the Two Parent Consent Rule
When a parent cannot supply the documentation listed above, a passport may still be issued if the parent can submit:
- A court order that allows the parent to travel with the child;
- A written statement or notarized written consent from the other parent stating that the other parent cannot give consent for the child’s passport.
The applying parent also may submit a statement explaining any exigent or special circumstances that would allow a passport to be issued with the consent of only one parent.