Child Custody Rights and Visitation

It’s the first of the year crunch, and with the kids back in school and parents back to business as usual after the holidays, it’s time to look forward to the next chance at a respite: spring break. For one mother, however, it isn’t looking like blue skies just yet. When she and her ex-husband divorced in Texas many years ago, they agreed upon alternating who gets child custody of the kids during school breaks. For example, Winter Break with Mom and President’s Week at Dad’s. But now they are both living in California, and their children get two weeks for Spring Break instead. So, the ex’s have agreed on splitting it. The mother in the story is planning a family reunion in Hawaii so her children can spend quality time with their sick grandfather. But, the only possible time for her whole family to make the trip is during the second week of her children’s spring break, which was supposed to be the father’s week.

When she and her ex-husband divorced in Texas many years ago, they agreed upon alternating who gets child custody of the kids during school breaks. For example, Winter Break with Mom and President’s Week at Dad’s. But now they are both living in California, and their children get two weeks for Spring Break instead. So, the ex’s have agreed amongst them on splitting it by week. The mother in the story is planning a family reunion in Hawaii so her children can spend quality time with their sick grandfather. But, the only possible time for her whole family to make the trip is during the second week of her children’s spring break, which was supposed to be the father’s week. The woman tells us that her ex-husband has a history of being needlessly inflexible for spite. She asks: what can she do to ensure that her kids will be able to come on this once in a lifetime family vacation?

Child Custody Rights and Visitation

Child Custody Rights and Visitation

Our first tip is to not jump the gun. Start by sending him a very polite letter asking him to switch weeks, send it via US Mail, and keep a copy. The purpose of this letter is to make her look good if she were to wind up in court. If this doesn’t do the trick, she has two options. Miss out on the vacation and go through the long legal process to change the child custody agreement. Or, ignore the spoken agreement herself, take her children to Hawaii and send the father a postcard. I can’t advise you to violate a court order, but this spring break schedule isn’t a court order. Will her ex-husband be mad? Sure. But she’ll be too far away and far too tan to be bothered!

For more on child custody and visitation, visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/child-custody-and-child-visitation

Change of Venue: A How To

Judge Reading Documents At Desk In CourtroomIn divorce, one of the most common questions we hear is howHow do I file? How do I get child custody? How do I come out of the other side of this mess? With so many hows, sometimes our most important job is to find the best of many possible hows for each individual client, because decades in this line of work has shown us that no client is identical to another. In one such case, a woman wanted to know how to file for a change of venue in her divorce. Her estranged husband, whom she’s been separated from for over four years, filled for divorce in Ventura County. However, she and the couple’s seven year old daughter have continued to reside in Los Angeles County, where the child was born. This woman explains that Ventura is just too far for her to travel. She goes on to note that her daughter’s school, doctor, activities, friends and family, and anyone else that she may need to testify on her behalf are all in Los Angeles. Her question: what forms must she fill out to ensure that her divorce case be moved to Los Angeles.

We informed this woman of her ability to request an order to change venue based on the circumstances she described, and that with all things considered the order would likely be granted. We advised her to use the standard RFO or Request for Order form to get this done (FL-300). She then must prepare and file the form when she goes to the hearing, and be aware that there will be a filling fee. We suggested she conduct some research on CA Code of Civil Procedure 397, where she will find the authority for her request for venue change. She will lastly need to file a proof of service proving that she served her husband. A date will be set to hear her RFO.

For more information on planning for divorce, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/planning-for-divorce-2

 

 

 

Military Divorces: camouflage and complexities

military divorceMilitary divorces are different than civilian cases, and often times more complicated. That’s why the confusion was understandable when a potential client approached us with questions regarding how she should go about divorcing her husband who is an active-duty service man.

In this specific woman’s case, her biggest question was where. Though the couple has a home of record in Texas, the family is currently stationed in San Diego, California; she didn’t know which state would be best to file in.

We advised her to file here in San Diego so as to gain court ordered spousal support and child support immediately. However, once filed here, and assuming the children have been here for over six months, the San Diego court will have continuing jurisdiction over the children. This means if she wished to move back to Texas (or to any state for that matter), she should do so immediately, hoping that her husband doesn’t file in California before the children have lived in Texas for over 6 months. If he did, the woman could be forced to return the children to their father. With this in mind, if she so wishes to move back to Texas, she should tell her husband where she will be reached, how she can be reached, and allow for him to visit their children- in writing. That way, there is zero room for accusation of parental kidnapping.

Divorce is hard. It can be even harder for a family in the military. For more information on military divorce, visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/military-divorces-are-different

Child Custody: One father’s rights

A hand cutting paper chain of a family, divorce and child custody battle

We were approached with an interesting story. A recently divorced man maintains “partial” custody of his daughter, but that custody is being seriously controlled by his ex-wife. The mother will not allow her ex-husband to take their child anywhere except the park or his house. She refuses to allow any type of contact between her daughter and her ex-husband’s family; the uncle of this child relayed that his own daughter isn’t allowed to have play dates with her cousin. You might ask how the mother is controlling where her ex takes their child. This is the eyebrow-raiser: the mother placed a tracking device necklace on her daughter. She threatens to stop letting him see her if the tracker is removed or tampered with.  There are no stipulations in his custody rights, and his family reports that he’s a responsible man and father. The question is, can the mother legally track her daughter while she’s in her father’s custody? Is this something worth fighting in court?

To completely understand this story, we have to make two assumptions. First, we assume that by “partial custody”, the father has a significant time share with his daughter; presumably every other weekend and an overnight during the week. Second, we assume that by “no stipulations” there are no restrictions in the custody order in regards to where this man can go during his time with his daughter. With those two assumptions, the mother has no right to tell her ex where he can and can’t go during his time with their daughter. The tracking device, in my opinion, is an unreasonable intrusion into his custodial rights – it’s as if the child’s mother is always there looking over his shoulder and interfering with the intimacy of his father-daughter relationship. This man should get a lawyer, go to court, and defend his parental rights.

For more information on child custody, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/child-custody-fundamentals

 

Child Custody Military Style: a different kind of battle

military child custodyAn active-duty military serviceman recently approached us with an inquiry regarding his wish to gain custody of his two sons, as the other siblings are over 18 years old and living independently. He and his wife had divorced in early 2013; at the time, both parents agreed it was in the children’s best interest to live with their mother. Since that time, he was stationed across the country in Virginia. On a visit back to California to see his newborn grandchild, it came to our potential client’s attention that his sons were living under unstable conditions. His ex-wife had been evicted, and since had taken the two younger children to live with a friend. Her driver’s license was suspended, her vehicle registration expired, and her car uninsured. These realities were very concerning to this man, hence why he came looking for a “quick resolution” to gain custody of the two boys.

The first thing this man needs to accept is that a quick resolution is highly unlikely. California has jurisdiction over the two children, and they won’t be able to move with him to Virginia without a successful motion in the San Diego Family Court for sole physical custody. The man’s ex-wife will presumably put up a fight, with or without the help of an attorney. He must also take into consideration what his sons want, as judges are supposed to listen to the feelings of children regarding child custody if they’re over the age of 14. This man needs to look at this situation holistically and see that the process for gaining custody after almost three years will be an uphill battle. Of course, nothing is impossible, and a military man equipped with perseverance most likely has the skill set to see this type of battle through. We wish him good luck!

For more information on military child custody, please visit our website at http://stanprowse.com/modifying-child-support-marine-or-sailor

Legal Eagle Podcast from Stan Prowse and The Andrea Kaye Show

Stan-RadioThe Andrea Kaye Financial News and Talk radio show and Carlsbad attorney Stan Prowse have together created these Legal Eagle audio segments focused on Family Law and help for military service members.

With the impact of divorce on families today the segments have sought to cover the wide variety of difficulties couples may face when either contemplating or going through a divorce. Topics such as legal separation verses divorce, contested and uncontested divorce, child custody issues, senior divorce and the expenses of divorce, family law for military, and the issues of PTSD, have all been covered in a helpful informational manner.

Like the rest of the legal article content provided on the stanprowse.com web site, they are intended to help the listener gain a better understanding of the law and the legal system so they will not feel intimidated and helpless should they face a divorce or family issues that require the help of a family law attorney. Each radio show segment has been recorded in a conversation interview style with Andrea Kaye as programming host with insightful questions and easy to understand responses by Mr. Prowse.

“This has been a valuable opportunity allowing us to reach people who might not come across our web site.  Andrea also raises new issues in our conversations.  Everyone learns something every time she has me on the show.  She’s great!” Stan Prowse.

About the Law Office of Stan Prowse.
Attorney Stanley has been practicing law for over thirty years. Stan is a graduate of J.D. Harvard Law School ’73, M.A. Columbia University and B.A. Yale University. Stan has also served as a Mediator, Judge Pro-Tem and is a Certified Family Law Specialist, Licensed to practice in California, Maryland, Washington D.C., & Georgia.

About the Andrea Kaye Show – Financial News and Talk radio
The Andrea Kaye Show is a unique “variety hour show” unlike anything broadcast in San Diego and Southern California.  Andrea Kaye, “Dynamite in a Dress”, is an actor, on camera spokesperson and host. The Andrea Kaye Show combines business, political science and entertainment experience into an exciting hour of hot topics, political debates, celebrity interviews, entertainment reports, topical business discussions, contest prizes and more.

“Divorce is a painful subject that I had no personal experience with until recently through a close family member. Since The Andrea Kaye Show is a forum for both information and entertainment, I wanted to help others who were facing similar situations and didn’t know where to turn. I searched for months until I found the BEST family law attorney in San Diego to help my listeners with advice, tips and encouragement.”
Andrea Kaye

This podcast is coming soon on iTunes

You will find the Andrea Kaye and Stan Prowse Legal Eagle Radio Podcast on Stan’s website:    http://stanprowse.com

Or at these Feed or Podcast Links:

PodCast Legal Eagle Radio Show

Feed Legal Eagle Radio Show

A Childs Right to Testify in A Divorce

Sad-BoyOften during a divorce one or both parents will attempt to use the child against their ex-spouse. When this is the case legal counsel is necessary for the best outcome for the child. This next paragraph is an actual answer to a father’s inquiry of this type.

A 14-year-old child has the right to testify in a custody hearing or trial unless the judge makes a preliminary finding that it would not be in the best interests of the child. I doubt that finding would be made here based on what you’ve said. Given your income disparity and the apparent fact that your son lives with you, I would expect you to get some (not much) spousal and child support. However, your wife will try to force you to get better and full-time employment. Try to find free legal help. Here in San Diego County, we have a Family Law Facilitators Office which helps people in your situation fill out the forms. See if there is one in your county.

For additional information on this subject please visit this specific article on our website:     http://stanprowse.com/child-witnesses-in-divorce