Today I want to talk about whether a parent who is not seeing or spending time with his or her child or children stands a chance of getting joint custody or parenting time.
Can this result in one parent getting sole custody of the child?
Will it result in a restriction of parenting time allowed for one parent?
Whatever State you are in you should research your child custody statutes. And in those child custody laws there is going to be a list of factors that the court is going to consider in making a decision about custody and or parenting time.
Again, this list is commonly referred to as ‘The Best Interest of the Child Factors” And not ONE factor controls, in other words the judge usually looks at the Interplay between a bunch of different factors. Not one factor is going to outweigh all of the other factors.
So the fact that a parent is not spending time with the child is not the only thing the judge is going to look at regarding whether the parents will get...
What you need to know if you are considering having a boyfriend or girlfriend testify as a character witness at your child custody trial.
The first thing I would tell you to do is download my Best Interest of the Child Checklist by going to
On that checklist one of the factors is “What type of relationship does that child have with other important people in his or her life?”
In my mind, a boyfriend or girlfriend who is a long term partner is a very important character witness and it is my practice to have a boyfriend or girlfriend testify if they have been around for a while or they are expected to be around as a partner, fiancée or future spouse. Having said that, there are some judges who don’t care about hearing from boyfriends or girlfriends. In fact, in the last week and a half I just had a judge tell me that he thought my client’s fiancée was irrelevant to the case and that he thought the most important...
The consequences of not being on your best behavior in a child custody battle can devastating for you and your family.
I want to remind you that when you are going through a family law case whether it be a divorce case, a custody case, a spousal maintenance case, you have to remember that all eyes are on you.
You are under a microscope and if you go into your trial or evidentiary hearing and you have done something to act crazy, expect that to be Exhibit A or Exhibit 1 in the evidence against you.
It seems like common sense but I can’t tell you how many divorce and custody cases where I have witnessed one of the spouses act crazy. It could even be determined that you have a borderline personality disorder which would pretty much not give you a very good chance of losing custody.
So here are 2 examples of actual cases:
Right now I am going through a child support trial where the mom has become angry because in one of the earlier trials the court ruled more in the...
This is my interpretation and a humorous example of an actual cross-examination I did recently in a custody hearing. It's a great example of how NOT to answer cross-exam questions.
Cross examination is that part of the custody trial after direct examination, where either you or your witness have told your ‘side of the story’. Your spouse’s attorney will now have the opportunity to ask you or your witness questions. This is called cross-examination.
If the other attorney or other party (if they are representing themselves) are skilled in cross-examination, he or she will use questions to try to box you into yes or no answers. That is just the nature of cross-examination and it is nothing to be afraid of.
When you feel the pressure of the attorney boxing you in for a yes or no answer, and even if you feel like a yes or no answer does not give the court the whole picture or you want to explain further, you still need to go ahead and follow the judge’s...
In this video I share a personal experience about how NOT knowing the rules really hurt me & how it relates to your family law case.
What you DON'T know can have detrimental consequences that could affect the rest of your family's life. When you are in the midst of a custody battle or a divorce everything is on the line whether it be determining child custody, how much alimony or child support you will receive, parenting time and many other things in your family law case.
So, I will use an example in my own life where I didn’t make it my business to know the rules and I ended up in a very stressful ordeal and ended up having to hire an attorney myself.
So in my private practice I had an employee who some might call a ‘trouble’ employee. One day she fell in the kitchen in an office that I share with a whole bunch of other lawyers and apparently hurt herself. At the same time the other attorneys in this office find out that this employee had been hacking into...
It is imperative that you are prepared for custody court and research how to answer questions the judge will ask you.
I will demonstrate this by a story have a story to tell you about my daughter Paloma, and it does relate to the family law courtroom but you are going to have to wait till the end to find out.
Paloma is really enjoying ham and cheese burrito right now which is one of my favorites. Before that her favorite was peanut butter and jelly.
So what she is used to me doing is making the burrito and cutting it in half and putting it into her lunch. The other day I wanted to eat half a burrito for myself so I rolled out the tortilla and cut it in half. So she came in and she wanted a half a burrito too, so this time I was making the burrito differently and making each half burrito separately. Instead of making the whole burrito and cutting it in half, so I was making it one half at a time since I had already cut the tortilla.
Well Paloma saw me making the burrito this way and...
Most divorces can be resolved through mediation even high conflict or complicated divorces. The benefits of mediation can be huge when choosing mediation over a trial in your divorce case.
Most people don't know that even the most complicated and acrimonious divorces can be resolved through divorce mediation.
Divorce is a difficult, costly & painful process that causes emotional stress to all individuals involved. When going through a divorce, there is something to be said for working it out instead of going to court… especially when there are children involved.
This sometimes makes people who are going through a divorce think that they could not possibly meet with their spouse face to face.
However, this is not the case. Professional divorce mediators are trained in conflict resolution and know how to create an open yet safe atmosphere where even the most conflicted of issues can be discussed and even agreements be made during the mediation process.
If you go to trial...
In custody the truth is fathers have the same rights as mothers but unfortunately most fathers don't take the time to learn what they can do to enforce their parental rights.
However, unless you take the time to learn the basic custody laws for your state and follow certain steps, no attorney can help you.
This video is for fathers who are going through a custody battle with their ex and want more parenting time with their children or are trying to get joint custody. This could be in the initial custody hearing or modification request made by either the father or mother. The father may feel like they won’t be able to do this because they have not been the primary caretaker of the child historically. The fact of the matter is there is a realistic possibility that you will get shared custody of your child, visitation, decision making and time-sharing.
Most courts use the "best interest of the child" rule to determine custody and time-sharing.
Here are 3 Steps to follow before...
When parents live in different states it can have an impact on the visitation schedule in a child custody case.
I use an example of Tony who was a fantastic father and should have gotten parenting time but because he lived far away from the mother and the child's school, the judge did not give the father parenting time with his child. There are times when fathers rights in a custody case are not recognized by the judge.
So, if the parents live far apart and what I mean by far apart is living in different cities or states or country, is joint custody practicable. What determines the visitation schedule? Sometimes it can be if the parent's have a great relationship and sometimes shared custody is not.
At times it makes sense that the custodial parent has sole legal decision making authority
Because a child is living with the custodial parent most of the time that means the parent is probably going to be the one taking the child to the Doctor, making decisions about the child's...
If you are in a child custody battle and domestic violence is an issue, these are 4 ways to prepare for your child custody hearing without an attorney or lawyer.
Domestic violence is something a judge takes very seriously in child custody cases, thus it is crucial that you are ready to answer these 4 questions for the judge before your court date.
Winning child custody when domestic violence is taking place is crucial to both the parent who is receiving the violence and in of course, the best interest of the child.
Here are 4 things that you should ask yourself and if you find your answers prove domestic violence the court needs to know when you attend your hearing.
1. Did the child ever witness the domestic violence?
2. Can you provide documentation of the abuse?
It is very important to provide any documents you can to the judge.
Examples of documents could include police reports, restraining orders, and court papers if there was a conviction for domestic violence
3. How has the...