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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...

What If One Party in a Custody Case is Engaged in Stripping or Prostitution?

So I want to break the question down into two parts because there's first the stripping part of it and then there's the prostitution part of it. In most states in America prostitution is a crime but I don't believe that it's a crime in the state of Nevada so if I were approaching this case and the party on the other side was prostituting I would talk to the judge about the fact that this person isn't obeying the law unless of course the case is taking place in Nevada.

Anytime a person is not obeying the law it shows that maybe their judgment could affect the best interest of the children and traditionally something like prostitution is considered a crime of moral turpitude. So if a person knows that it's a crime to be a prostitute yet they continue to prostitute they're breaking the law. If it's a situation where it just happened once and maybe it was a mistake in judgment but if they continue to do it then it's a pattern of behavior and I would argue that it could negatively...

Does a Judge Conduct Child Interviews in Custody Cases?

It is somewhat unusual for a judge to conduct the child interview instead of a mental health professional in custody cases.

I'm going to talk about a question that I got from one of viewers on child interviews in child custody. In this particular case my viewers judge is about ready to interview the children. This case is unusual because it's actually the judge who's going to be interviewing the children as opposed to a mental health professional which is what often happens in Arizona. So before I dive into the answer I want to remind you about why judges might order children to be interviewed in the first place.

As you might think back to the best interest factors i talk about in so many of these videos one of the factors that the judge looks at is what are the children's wishes. When the children are old enough for a sufficient maturity to express themselves then a judge will have them interviewed & there's a couple ways that judges can do this.

The most common way that I see...

How Will My' Not So Perfect Past' Affect My Child Custody Case?

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At some point in your past you've done something wrong. That’s just a part of being human but when it comes to a custody case if it's a really hotly contested case you can bet the other side is going to try to bring up whatever the mistakes you've made in the past to the judge.

The point I want to make is that whatever it is that you've done in your past you really have to own up to it if it does come up during your case. Don't lie to the judge. Some people are going to have made worse mistakes than others like lying to the other party about something. On the other hand maybe the party committed an act of domestic violence against the other party or convicted of a DUI or has a past drug use or has a drug offense, criminal record, convicted felon

If that's happened in your case then you really have to come clean and you have to tell the judge what happened, explain where your head was when that happened. But really you want to pivot and talk to the judge more about where you...

Can a Parenting Plan be Modified if I Think My Ex-Spouse Has Mental Health Issues

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There may be times when circumstances change in custody cases. In this instance the father believes the mother has mental health issues. 

There’s nothing wrong with having mental health issues but if you are in a custody case it’s important that you are getting treatment that you need & follow those treatment plans. In this case my client believes the mother has had these mental health issues & because she had not been treating them, she was placing the children in dangerous situations, negligent & in some cases reckless in her conduct. My client believed that when the children were in her care they were in danger of serious harm or injury. So he wanted to limit her parenting time.

One of the first things the court ordered was for both parties to meet with what is called a court appointed advisor. This advisor is like an investigator or a researcher & they look into allegations. & was looking for was information for the allegations that my...