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What if Your Older Child is Telling You They Want Custody or Parenting Time Arrangement Changed?

What you should be doing if you have an older child who is telling you that he or she wants the custody or parenting time arrangements to be changed.

I had this issue just come up in one of my cases and let me give you a little background.  I have a client and he had custody of his three boys as they were growing up but as the boys were growing up one of them started to give him a hassle a few years ago saying that he wanted to live with mom who lives in Arizona and father by the way lives in a different state.

So father and mother went through a couple of rounds of litigation where they were battling over whether the boy would get to come and live with mother or not and ultimately in those rounds of litigation they settled the case. But more recently the boy came to spend time with mother during summer break and at the end of summer break he essentially refused to go home. The boy is 16 years old according to the mother the boy refused to get in the plane to get in the car to...

Don't Use a Restraining Order to Get Around a Custody Order That is Already in Place


This video is about a situation that I observed in court a couple of months ago while sitting in a courtroom waiting with my client for the judge to hear our restraining order.

As we were waiting we were watching all the other people who were going before us and one of the ladies who went before us was a woman who was trying to convince the judge to give her a restraining order to protect her children. She felt the father…the other parent was putting the children in danger by driving with the kids while under the influence of alcohol.

The first question that judge asked the woman was is there a current custody order in place that gives this other parent rights and her answer was yes so that was red flag. Number one the judge felt that by going to get a restraining order that maybe the woman was trying to go around or circumvent the prior order on custody and what the judge told her was that you need to seek to modify that prior family court order and you can do it on an...

Why Would a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) Favor Non-Parent in Child Custody Cases?


Why would a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) favor the non-parent who is not the biological parent of the child when trying to determine what's in the best interests of the child?

Before I delve into answering this question let me explain what GAL stands for in legal speak. GAL means guardian ad litem and a guardian ad litem is an individual, usually an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent the interests of the child. Oftentimes the GAL is given special powers by the court where they can investigate allegations that are being made or where they can observe interaction between the child and the involved parties.

 The GAL al may be able to talk with the child if the child is old enough to express his or her wishes.   So there are a lot of functions that this GAL can perform.  And the GAL then can provide a report or an update to the court and provide recommendations about what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the child.  So in this case the...

Reasons You May Have to Pay The Other Party's Attorney's Fees in Family Law Cases


This video is about reasonableness as it relates to the issues of attorneys fees and costs in a family law case.

 I've had a couple of recent recent cases where the judges hammered my clients with awards of attorneys fees.  One case the award was approaching $20,000, and that award was so much that it actually sent my client into bankruptcy.   So I want to explain to you where judges ended up saying that one person owes the other party attorneys fees and costs.

First of all obviously one person has to have an attorney, so if you're doing this case on your own and the other side is the one who has an attorney really have to be aware that paying some or all of the other side's attorneys fees and cost could be a possibility.   The next thing you have to understand is that in making a decision about attorney’s fees and costs, the judge is going to look at whether parties are being reasonable in their positions or whether they're taking positions that...

Pay Close Attention to Your Child's Behavior to Make Sure Your Parenting Plan is in The Best Interest of Your Child


If you have a parenting time agreement you need to play close attention to your child's behavior & whether your parenting plan is in the best interest of your child.

Paying attention to his or her behaviors and deciding whether or not there's something that you need to do differently or you need to work with the other parent on. You need to make sure that your child is above all happy. When you're in the middle of a custody case it really is all about the children. I've talked about in many of my videos how everything that the judge is going to consider points to what's best for the child.

I'm raising this issue because I just got out of court and in this particular case it really should be an easy case result. But it hasn't been unfortunately because from my perspective the father is really angry and bitter and he's trying to control the mother. So at a prior court hearing the parties agreed that when the other parent was having parenting time with the child that the parent...

Can I Leave the State With My Child Without Telling the Other Parent?


I had a client recently who had been with her partner for a while and he had been emotionally and physically abusive to her.  She wanted to leave the state and take their child with her.

She wanted to know if she could just do that without letting the other parent know because there was no court order in place.  I always say in many of my videos that you have to consult the laws in your jurisdiction. 

 I don't know what the laws in your jurisdiction are because I have viewers from as far as Australia.  In cases where there has been emotional abuse or domestic violence if the other parentI has been involved with the life of the child to any extent, it is probably not a good idea to take the child and run.

 It seems like that would be the easiest thing to do in many situations. It would probably would be the safest thing to do for the parent and the child but in the long run it could really cause some heartache for you and the child if the other parent...

Don't Let Setbacks in Your Custody Case Get You Down


Setbacks are just a part of life. Everyone will experience setbacks in their life. That includes judges, attorneys, you, the other side in your custody case. I wanted to cover this topic because of a very difficult and challenging case that I experienced.

In this case the father was my client and his ex had taken off with their child and they had shared custody. He eventually was reunited with his child after not knowing where his child was for 3-weeks.

Over those 3-weeks we filed motions with the court trying to get some sort of relief or orders that the child be returned to my client immediately. The problem was we did not know where my client's ex was, so we weren't able to serve her with paperwork.

At one point we had tracked her down to Aruba from her Instagram account but there were no pictures of the child so we did not know where the child was either. It felt like a roller coaster especially with the filing of all these different motions. And when the judge would make these...

Don't Project Your Personal Issues Onto Your Child


In family law cases often one party will move on with a new partner leaving the other feeling betrayed, bitter, hurt & angry & projecting those negative emotions onto the child.  This is a super huge topic and I know that therapists probably work for years with people on this topic and it's not something that I can cover in a 3-minute video.

 I'm a perfectionist and when I'm helping with my daughter with her homework I can see myself really wanting to force her to do everything perfect and make every letter perfect. That’s not what I want to do and I check myself and I'm sure I'm doing it in ways that I'm not aware of.

 What I see in these family law cases though is people who are aware of what they're doing and they do it anyway and they do it in a way that's harmful to the child.   Let me give you an example and this is kind of a it's a comprehensive cumulative example of a lot of cases that I've had over the years.  It is where two...

If You Are Facing Obstacles in Your Custody Case Think Outside the Box


In this video I talk about tapping into your creativity to overcome obstacles in your case.

As you go into your family law case don't forget to tap into your inner creativity. I believe all of us are artists whether you paint or draw pictures or a mechanic that works on cars, or someone who likes to cook in the kitchen or help your child color.

Because we are all artists we are born with this creativity that we can choose to tap into it or not. There are a lot of chances and opportunities in your family case to tap into your creativity.

This is an example I want to give and I've talked about this case in other videos as well. In this case my client who was the father, their child went missing for a period of 3-weeks. We jumped through all kinds of hoops to get the child and get the judge to order the mom to remand the child to my client's custody. There were a lot of setbacks along the way, my client didn't give up on me and I didn't give up either.

But one of the obstacles we had...

The Importance of Legal Definitions in Your Custody Case


Today i want to talk about the importance of legal definitions in your custody case. Whatever country or state you are in you need to look at the custody laws for your state. There is probably going to be a section of the law that sets forth definitions of certain legal terms.

For example it is probably going to have definitions of what it means to have legal decision making or legal custody of your child. Also physical custody, parenting time or domestic violence. There are a lot of definitions for custody and you really need to get familiar with these definitions.

The reasons I want to bring this idea up specifically because in one of my client's cases (father of the child) the other party was accusing my client of domestic violence during the relationship. He discovered by definition of domestic violence didn't apply in his case. But what he also discovered in the definition section of the statutes in his state, was that not only did the law in his state provide for domestic...