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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...

Mom Lost Joint Custody Because of This One Common Mistake

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I was just in a continuing legal education seminar and there were a lot of topics and a lot of panels that were presented and one of the things that really struck me was a presentation where the speaker was talking about how a parent who shares joint custody with the other parent had gotten custody taken away from her.

What happened was she started making major decisions about her child without including the other parent in that conversation. As I thought about it I thought you know this is not the first time I've heard about something like this happening.

In fact, it's come up in my practice a lot and it actually just came up last week. I had an interaction with the woman who lived in Arizona and she shares joint custody with a guy and based on what she's saying he's not the best dad. He was not an involved parent doesn't interact with their daughter at all. So she decided that she needed to move because she had more support in another state.

So without asking for permission from...

Choose Witnesses Wisely in Child Custody or Divorce Case

You’re probably going to have more than one witness who could come to court & testify on your behalf but just because you have one witness or ten witnesses doesn't mean that all of those witnesses need to testify. You have to talk to the people who could potentially have something to say on your behalf & figure out whether they’d really be a good witness.

One of the things you should base your decision on is the credibility of witnesses. Although witness may have something good to say about you, that person may be terrible on the stand. They may be nervous or clam up. You have to figure that in deciding how to present the best case you can to the judge.

I just had an experience recently & it was in a different type of case. It was a criminal case & many moons ago I practiced criminal law. I was a prosecutor for a few years & after I quit the prosecutor's office I went on ended criminal defense work & I defended all types of cases from speeding...

Never Underestimate the Power of Discovery in Your Child Custody Case.

I just finished a case last Friday that had been going on about a year. We thought we would be able to settle the case because the right outcome seemed fairly obvious to my client & myself. Unfortunately it was not that obvious to the other side so we had to go through years worth of litigation, court appearances, attorneys fees & lots of headache for my client.

My client was under a lot of stress but persevered & in the months before our trial setting we finally figured out that there was no way the other side was going to compromise. So we started to hit the discovery hard. I took the other party's deposition & it was quite lengthy & I didn't go in unprepared & was very strategic with the questions that I asked & the information that I wanted to know.

One of my goals during every deposition is to get a better understanding of what the other side is going to say during the custody trial & lock them in to their answers. That way it makes it...

3 Things You Need to Address When Negotiating & Drafting a Parenting Plan

 It is important that you address these things with the other parent when negotiating & drafting a parenting plan.

1. Do you want sole custody or joint custody

Custody or legal decision making means your & the other parent's ability to make major decisions about the lives of your children. Decisions such as medicine, education, and personal care decisions. So you need to think about if you want sole or joint custody. Once you've hammered that out, you need to start thinking about what parenting time plan you're going to be asking the other party to share with you.

There are lots of different parenting plans out there. You really should be thinking about the best interest of your kids and coming up with a plan for them so some people have a week on we got planned other people have one parent gets every other weekend so I would encourage you to do your research. Look at websites & figure out what plan works best for the kids & map it out with begin times and...