Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

Red lines and teenagers

Non-custodial parents of teenagers often complain when the custodial parent doesn’t stop their child from engaging in typical risky teen behavior. One hears stories of parents losing custody merely because their teen engages in alcohol use, mild drug use, or has sex while under their care. Not having seen this actually happen myself, I am […]

Why join stepparents as opposing parties to family court proceedings?

The short answer is discovery. While I understand the logic of joining stepparents as parties to custody or visitation proceedings when that stepparent will not behave around the child(ren), I remain convinced it is bad strategy. Not only does it double the number of adversarial parties, it allows the stepparent to participate in all the […]

Why not divide up legal custody?

Deciding who will have legal custody–final decision making authority for a child–can be one of the more contentious issues in custody cases. Often one parent wants final decision making authority to “validate” his or her superior parenting. More often, and not mutually exclusive with the desire for validation, one parent wants the right to control […]

Fighting for the last few percent of 50/50 custody

I’ve had a few custody cases the past few years in which my client has had a goal of equal time with his or her child only to be offered very close to, but not quite, equal time. Sometimes, when I don’t think my client has a strong position on custody, I might encourage that […]

That ship has sailed (or implicitly condoning past child abuse or neglect)

A decent subset of my custody and visitation cases have one parent raising abuse or neglect allegations that predate an agreement (whether a temporary consent order or an agreement incorporated into a final order). While not trying to be heartless, the best advice I can typically give these clients is “that ship has sailed.” There […]

The problems in splitting children’s expenses based upon undefined “pro rata income shares”

I have recently encountered a number of court-approved child support agreements in which child-related expenses are divided upon undefined “pro rata [Latin for “in proportion”] income shares.” Often these agreements were negotiated or drafted by experienced family law attorneys. While the intent is well meaning, the language causes serious problems. Without knowing how “pro rata” […]

The difficulties relocating with children merely because the stepparent is moving

Custodial parents rarely consider whether their spouses are prone to work related relocations when they decide to (re)marry. They simply assume that if their spouse moves they and the children will move. Rarely do they consider the difficulties they might encounter with the other parent if they wish to relocate merely because their own spouse […]

The risks of rushing into a final order on custody or visitation

Most people, at least those who are thoughtful and mature, try to avoid protracted and contentious litigation. This is especially true for custody and visitation cases. The stress and expense of litigation is heightened when the fight is over one’s children–and placating and paying a guardian ad litem only adds to this stress and expense. […]