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Can You Withhold Parenting Time if Your Spouse Fails to Pay Child Support?

In my family law practice a lot of people come to me, especially those who are entitled to receive child support. They want to know if they are entitled to withhold parenting time from the other parent due to non-payment of child support.

My inclination is to say No, because that is not in the child's best interest. Parenting time and child support are two separate issues. Just like if a parent is obligated by a court order to pay child support...if there is then is a court order in effect that says a parent is entitled to a certain amount of parenting time, then they are entitled to get it.

The parent may not be happy because they are not getting child support, but they still must give the other parent the parenting time according their agreement. Because if they don't, they could face the same consequences that the parent who is failing to pay child support faces.

So, there are ways to get a parent to pay child support if they are not doing it, other than withholding parenting...

Obtaining a Restraining Order/Order of Protection in a Custody or Divorce Case.

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Restraining orders can be called different things depending on the jurisdiction you live in. For example in Arizona there are 2 types of restraining order in the family law arena. One is called an order of protection & an order of protection could be placed into effect by a judge if a person comes in and is able to convince the judge that either domestic violence has occurred in a relationship or that it could occur in the relationship.

In this type of order you have to show the court that there's some sort of domestic relationship. It doesn't necessarily have to be a marriage. It could be a boyfriend/girlfriend type of situation or a living together situation. But there does have to be some sort of romantic relationship.

The other type of restraining order in Arizona is called an injunction against harassment. So as far injunctions against harassment, there may not necessarily be domestic violence. Domestic violence is not needed to get an injunction against harassment, nor...

Don't Make Playing Games Part of Your Strategy in a Custody Battle

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Is harassing, annoying or embarrassing the other party in your custody case part of your strategy?

If it is, you need to rethink your strategy. When you are involved in a custody case, a lot of it is about strategizing. You have to decide what moves you are going to make and take reasoned action. To that end then, a custody case or family law case is in a sense, a game.

But the games I am talking about are the games where the intentions are harassing or annoying or embarrassing the other side. This does happen in my cases from time to time because their are family law attorneys who like to play 'below the belt' games.

As a family law attorney my strategy is resolving the case in a way that serves my client and serves the best interest of the children. So if I have a client who wants to do things or proceed in ways simply because they think it will harm the other parent in some way, embarrassing, humiliating them. That is just a bad idea. Bad Karma is not a legal term but it playing...

'Local' Relocation Can Impact the Lives of Your Child & Your Parenting Rights

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Moving from one part of the city or town to the next CAN have an impact on your child & your custody rights.

Local relocation is when one parent is moving from one part of a city or town to another where the distance is for example 45 minutes or an hour away from the other parent.

'Relocation' normally will be used when you are talking about one parent moving either to another city or another state, or . These local relocation cases can really have an impact on a parent's time that they are able to exercise and also on the children.

This is a case I am working with now. A few years ago two parties went through a custody proceeding and at the time they were living pretty close to each other, about 10 to 15 mins away from each other. That is a nice distance when parents are sharing children in common. Fast forward a few years later and the mother decided that she wanted to move, so she moved about 45 minutes away from where the father lived.

These parents had been sharing equal...

Can a Significant Other's Criminal History Hurt a Custody Case

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The answer to that question is maybe. It depends on several different factors. Your judge first and foremost. The kind of criminal history or conviction that your spouse or significant other has. Are we talking about marijuana use, drug issues, domestic violence or sexual abuse conviction, assault, assault with a deadly weapon.

Another factor is how long ago did they get the conviction or criminal history. For example if it has been 20 years since they have been convicted and they have not had another incident since, then a judge may not put a lot of weight on that IF it is NOT a conviction like murder, sexual assault, etc. If this is the case, then a judge probably will hold that against your significant other forever.

A few examples where a judges in my cases have held a significant other's criminal history or actions against them. About 10 years ago I had a client who was a pretty good Mom. Her and her ex-husband were very high conflict and were always going back to court. He...

Winning a Child Custody Relocation Case is Extremely Difficult

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Relocation cases are some of the most difficult cases that judges have to decide in a child custody case.

Judges have told me in these type of cases there is a clear winner and a clear loser. If the judge rules that the child can relocate with a parent then that parent 'wins' and the other parent loses and vice versa.

The burden of proof is on the person seeking to have the children relocate with them. That means that they have to prove to the judge that relocating the child is in the child's best interest. Depending on where you live there is a list of factors, on top of the normal 'Child's Best Interest Factors' that the judge needs to look at to decide whether relocation is in the child's best interest.

So where ever you live, you need to do relocation research and find out what the relocation laws are in your state. You need to know each and every factor the judge is going to look at because you have to adjust each and every one of them.

In your relocation hearing , If a parent...

Never Ask Your Child to Keep a Secret From the Other Parent in a Custody Battle

Asking your child to keep secrets from the other parent is never a good thing, not for the child & not for your custody case.

The other evening I was at Trader Joe's and saw a guy with his little girl who appeared to be about 4 years old. He looked to be with what appeared to be his girlfriend. The little girl had a cup and Trader Joe's was giving out samples of their coffee.

I overheard him say, 'How's your coffee?' I thought to myself, she's a little young to be drinking coffee and not only that it was about 6:30pm. The little girl said it was good, and he replied, 'Well you don't need to tell your Mom that I let you drink coffee, and he went on to say 'You don't need to tell your Mom a lot of the things we do together. And she said, 'well I don't tell Mom what we do together' and then he got on her case, 'Well you told Mom I let you watch DeadPool'

Now DeadPool is a really funny movie but it is definitely not appropriate for a 4-year old. But aside from that, what I really...

The Risk of NOT Settling a Child Custody Case Out of Court

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There can be consequences in taking your case to the judge instead of settling your differences outside of court. When you go before a judge in custody or divorce court, the judge alone is going to decide your case and it will be based on limited facts in a limited period of time.

Judges are also handling thousands of cases every year and they hear these things every day. Also, they are a stranger and do not know you or your children. Having a judge decide your case will always run the risk of you not getting the best outcome that you could have had, had you tried to settle the issues outside of court.

With that being said, there are issues that are too complicated or that really can't be settled out of court and you have no choice but to go to trail. But if there is a way to settle some of the issues if not all of the issues then I strongly encourage you to try.

As an example I recently was in mediation on a divorce case where there was nearly every issue in the book: child...

Grandparents Rights and Other Third Party Rights in Child Custody

This is one example of a custody case of a grandparent who raised her son's little girl & faced losing custody & visitation rights when mom came back into the picture.

When I talk about third-party rights in child custody cases this can mean grandparents rights, step-parents rights or the rights of the person who has really been deeply involved in a child's life to the extent they say that they have acted in the place of a parent to that child.

I have just finished a case that I've been involved with for several months where my client and her significant other raised a little girl for several years. For the majority of her life really, from the time she was 2 to almost 7. The reason she was raising that little girl because the mother of the child was having some serious problems with drugs and the father of the child who was my client's son was unavailable.

So at the request of the mother, my client took physical custody of the little girl and raised her pretty much as...

Struggling with Drug or Alcohol Addiction in a Child Custody Battle

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This video is about the power of ‘the truth’ if you're struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in a custody battle.

I have been on both sides of the aisles in these types of cases during custody battles. I have represented the parent who has the addiction problem and I'm representing several parents right now in custody cases who have addiction issues. I’ve also been on the other side with the parent that was worried about their children because the other parent is a drug addict or has an alcohol issue.

If you are in the middle of a custody case and you are the one that struggling right now with alcohol or drug abuse, I want you to think about something. You’re not perfect. I'm not perfect. The other parent is not perfect.

Going to family law court and trying to deny the fact that you're not perfect just isn't going to work. Be honest and tell the judge what issues you're facing. Tell the judge that every day's a struggle, the struggle for you to get...