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Is Your Legal Standing as a Parent Being Ignored by Your Child's School, Daycare or Doctor?


What should a person do if a school, daycare or doctor is ignoring their legal standing as a parent.  The first part of the question is that I want to explore whether or not you really do have legal standing.  You may know you are the birth parent of the child but that does not necessarily mean that you have legal standing.   You need to look at the rules in your state.

In some states it is enough, if you are the father for example, the fact that you are listed on the birth certificate can convey legal standing.  It shows that you are the legal parent of the child. In other states, the fact that you are on the birth certificate may not be enough. 

Part two of what you have to look at is whether or not you have a court order for custody and parenting time.  Because for some schools, daycares and doctor offices the fact that you have a birth certificate which conveys legal standing or even the fact that you have a court order which says that you are...

Letting Things Go (On Your Own Terms) in Your Custody Case


My little girl is going to be seven years old next month.  I can't believe it and time is flying and I'm trying to figure out a way that I can squeeze the most out of every day with her.  But that's a whole other topic!  Last night my husband,  my daughter and I were talking about her seventh birthday party.   For all the years that she's been alive to this point we've always had her birthday party at our house.   We've invited family over and there's been lots of family and last year there was a bunch of kids. 

We had a Piñata and cake and food and it was a huge thing.  This year I thought that it would be fun to have the party at a pool and the reason is because one of my brother's friends is actually a beautiful mermaid who does tricks in the pool.   While my daughter still kind of believes and magic and fairy tales and mermaids and unicorns I thought it would be cool to do something a little...

Timing is Everything in Your Child Custody Case Especially When Filing Your Case

Timing in your case is everything especially when it comes to deciding when you're going to file it.   This comes up because late last year I had a case with a former client.  She came to me and she was worried because her ex-husband was threatening to actually remove the children from school.  This was because he was in the process of buying a new home that was 30 minutes away from my clients home and from the girl's current school and from his current home.  Because the parties reached an agreement many years ago that father would have the final say when it came to educational decisions, he has the power to remove the kids from school.

And by the way the parties agreement also was that she would have final say when it came to the kids’ medical major decisions.   So I guess they kind of thought it was fair but my client didn't foresee when she entered into that agreement that her ex might actually change the school and move it to a place...

Trying to Settle Your Custody Case Outside of the Courtoom


Over the course of 20+ years as a practicing attorney, I’ve taken a lot of custody cases to trial but I’ve also settled a lot of cases.  In fact more of the cases I’ve handled have settled outside of the courtroom. These cases usually get both parties the best results.  Settling on their own terms vs. having the judge tell them what they are going to do with their lives and their children.

Right now I am trying to help settle a case for a client that’s been going on for over a year.  There are a lot of issues including decision-making also known custody of the child as well as parenting time.   In the course of this year we’ve extended a number of settlement offers to he and his attorney.  He has not even responded to any of those settlement offers.  And what has happened is that we have had to go to trial a few times.  We keep thinking we are going to get the case done in one trial setting in several...

Sometimes We Struggle Unnecessarily As We Move Through Our Child Custody Case

There are times in life when we all struggle and sometimes there is struggle as you move through your custody case.  In fact I found myself fretting for a few weeks about what to do in a recent case.  I spent a lot of time struggling to find a solution for my client and overlooked one easy solution because I didn’t think it was possible.  It turned out it was. 

Back in August and September the parties had engaged in a full mediation session with a mediator who was court appointed.  They both arrived at a full agreement and in Arizona these agreements, if signed by both parties are called Rule 69 agreements.

They are binding in the eyes of the court and it’s very difficult to get out of it.   A week or two after they had signed this full agreement my client decided that he really didn’t want the agreement.  I thought uh oh, it’s really going to be hard to get out of this agreement.  I started searching for a ground...

Who You Should Listen To In Your Child Custody Case

If you have a family law attorney or have consulted with a family law attorney, it’s probably a good idea to listen to your attorney about the rules and laws of your state, about your judge or the other side’s strategy.

The trap I see a lot of people falling into when they are going through a custody case is they start listening to their cousin or their best friend, maybe a co-worker or their new significant other. This causes a lot of confusion in the mind of the client and especially so when the client has hired an attorney to represent them in their case.

I bring this up because I have a client who I love and care about and have been working with her on her case for about a year.  In the course of the case my client met somebody.  He was someone who had gone through his own divorce and custody battle and has his own opinions about how things should be handled.

 And those opinions are not necessarily in line with my opinions.  And while I have...

Is it a Good Idea to Enroll Your Child in Therapy If You Share Joint Custody & The Other Parent Does Not Agree To It

My answer is if you share joint custody this is not a good idea at all to go against the other parent's wishes. You need to have the consent of the other parent or a court order to do that. In some cases I have had parents make major decisions for their children that the other parent was not in agreement with and it actually caused them to lost custody of their children.

When it comes to decision making or custody it usually pertains to major decisions for the life of the children. For example mental health treatment, medical treatment, education, in some cases religion. In Arizona we have personal care decisions. Which amounts to for example can the child get their hair colored blue or a mohawk or get all kinds of piercings.

If you share joint custody with another parent then you have to discuss those categories of major decisions with that parent before making one of those major decisions. Certainly enrolling your child into some sort of mental health counseling would be a major...

Choose the Evidence You Use at Your Child Custody Trial Wisely


I've said it more than once in some of my past videos that if there's any evidence that you think that you might possibly want to use at trial, that you disclose it in advance and in accordance with the laws of your jurisdiction.   That way if you decide you want to use certain pieces of it as evidence you actually have the option to use it. 

You don't have to use all of the evidence that you disclose.  But when you're getting ready for trial and you're deciding what evidence that you're going to actually try to admit I want to encourage you to be really careful about the evidence that you pick. Be careful that the evidence actually shows what you want it to show. 

 I want to give you an example from a trial that I just had last week.   In this particular case I was representing the father.  Mother took him back to court because she wanted to reduce his parenting time from almost equal to every other weekend.   Mother submitted...