Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

(Unwittingly) Coaching the children

To most people “coaching” children in the context of custody and visitation cases is telling a child to lie to the judge (or the guardian, or a mental health professional/forensic evaluator) about that party’s or the other parent’s behavior. Two classic (but overstated) examples are telling kids to lie about sexual or physical abuse in […]

Should custody be dealt with in a separate order?

I recently completed a divorce case in which all issues other than child custody settled in the middle of trial. With the court’s permission, I drafted a separate final order addressing the ground for divorce, property division, and spousal support. When the judge issued her final ruling, I drafted a separate final order addressing custody. […]

Small bites on visitation

Absent a showing of a “substantial change of circumstances” one is allowed to bring only one motion for temporary relief on a particular issue prior to trial. Typically these motions are brought early in the case–some attorneys almost reflexively file these motions with their initial pleading. However whatever relief the client obtains at the temporary […]

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 […]