This article will discuss tips and strategies to help you succeed in accomplishing your goals for your child custody and child visitation case from the perspective of an experienced child custody lawyer in San Diego.
First of all, success in a child custody case is measured in as many ways as there are parents in the world. The key to success is to set goals, and that those goals be realistic. A San Diego attorney experienced with child custody and child visitation issues and cases can be your best resource to understand what is reasonable and best for your children. Of course, parents really are the only ones who truly know what’s best for their own children as they know them better than anyone else. Unfortunately, emotions, misconceptions, sometimes substance abuse or mental illness can get in the way of a parent thinking clearly in setting and seeking goals for a custody and visitation plan for their children.
Working with the Other Parent
It is a well-worn mantra in the child custody and visitation world that custody plans derived through negotiation and cooperation of the parents are usually the best way to handle custody schedules. A negotiated custody plan puts the plan in the hands of those that know the children best and care most for them. Furthermore, studies have shown negotiated child custody plans have the most buy in from parents, the most compliance, and of course reduces conflict between parents. All these things go to create happier, healthier, and more productive children.
Of course, that’s not always possible which is where the help of a child custody lawyer can be of assistance in furthering negotiations and of course helping you litigate if necessary. Getting the right information (not always all) to the judge is of the utmost importance to succeeding in your child custody case.
Know Your Rights and Obligations
It is imperative that separating or divorcing parents know their rights as well as their obligations when it comes to child custody matters. There are many resources to gain such knowledge, an attorney experienced in this area usually being the best source especially one knowledgeable of the local judges’ procedures and preferences.
Generally, you have a constitutional right to parent your children. US Supreme Court cases such as Meyer v. Nebraska (1923), 262 U.S. 390, have long held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause includes the right to raise your own children. That right is of course not absolute so it is important to know how and when a court can interfere with that basic right.
The child custody laws in California are all written to be gender neutral, meaning mothers are not preferred over fathers, and fathers are not preferred over mothers. However, it is not always the case that a particular judge will apply California’s neutral laws neutrally. A San Diego child custody lawyer may be able help you understand your particular judge’s preferences in that regard and navigate the courts with more success.
Each parent has the right to present evidence to support their goals, and the right to be heard by the Court. California also imposes the obligation on all parents to support their children both physically and financially.
Therefore, it is imperative you are exercising visitation with your child. Courts do not like to see a parent putting other obligations or other people ahead of the children. While employment is absolutely necessary for most parents, a court will want to see some balance, in that you aren’t putting your job ahead of your child every single time, or frequently cancelling visitations to met obligations to friends or other family members.
The Courts will also want to see you meeting your financial obligations to your children, such as child support, feeding, clothing, health care, and getting them into extra-curricular activities.
Know the Law
Child custody laws across the states, including California, are complex, and sometimes confusing. Often the legislature has placed a substantial amount of what we call discretion in the hands of the individual judges; however, in all States that discretion is limited in certain areas. It is important that you know where a judge has discretion and where they don’t.
Asking a judge for relief they cannot grant is a sure-fire way to fail miserably. A prime example of this in California is the request we see frequently in our court in move away cases. The parent who is not moving requests that the judge tell the parenting requesting to move, that they cannot move. The law in California has been made crystal clear that a family law judge cannot make such an order. They are required to make orders assuming the parent will move determining only if the child relocates with the moving parent or remains behind with the non-moving parent.
This is of course only one example. A child custody lawyer in San Diego can help you avoid similar pitfalls in your child custody case.
Ensure you are hiring an attorney experienced in child custody cases such as the lawyers at Mesnik Law Group who have many years of extensive experience handling child custody cases in San Diego from the most complex cases requiring multiple experts, multi day trials, and years of litigation, to the most amicable case simply helping parents hone their agreements reducing it to writing and processed with Courts.
There are many keys to success in your child custody and child visitation case. Knowledge, reasonable expectations, and of course hiring a child custody lawyer who understands your goals and has the ability to provide you with the knowledge and representation required to succeed.