RELOCATION FOR EX-SPOUSES WITH CHILDREN IN CALIFORNIA

SAN JOSE MILITARY DIVORCE LAWYERS

It is increasingly common for parents to relocate in today’s mobile society. Some do so because of military deployment orders. Others move to pursue professional opportunities. Some people relocate to care for ailing family members.

Under California law, a parent who has been awarded primary custody of a child may change his or her residence, even if the parent has previously agreed not to do so. However, a move is subject to approval by the court. Essentially, a court will not allow a move if it is not in the best interests of the child.

This is especially important when a couple shares custody of a child. Both parents’ rights must be considered, regardless of the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The court will incorporate a new analysis to determine whether the current custody arrangement should continue. It will consider a number of factors related to what is in the best interests of the child, including:

NEW LAW DRAMATICALLY CHANGES CALIFORNIA DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

SAN JOSE CA DIVORCE LAWYER

A new law, effective January 1, 2011, is expected to have a large impact on California divorce proceedings. The law requires oral testimony during divorce hearings unless both spouses or a judge specifically declines it. This change could significantly lengthen the time it takes to finalize a divorce in the Golden State.

NEW CALIFORNIA DIVORCE LAW

The new California divorce law follows a 2007 case from the California Supreme Court. In that case, 34 of a man’s written exhibits were excluded from his divorce hearings. He later sued over the exclusion claiming that it prevented his voice from being heard, and he won. To give parties more ways to state their cases, the California legislature passed a law requiring the opportunity for oral testimony in all divorce proceedings. The law states that the court shall receive live testimony and also that the court may ask questions of spouses seeking divorces.

DOES MARITAL LOVE FADE OVER TIME?

THE END OF AL AND TIPPER GORE'S 40-YEAR MARRIAGE RAISES THE QUESTION

After 40 long and tumultuous years of politics, publicity and prosperity, former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper, famous in her own right as an author and outspoken advocate for the Parents Music Resource Center (the committee responsible for the “Parental Advisory” label on music albums that contain explicit lyrics), have announced their plans to divorce. Their high-profile split involves allegations that Al was an absentee husband and father and reportedly unfaithful, but it has also challenged the notion that = long-time couples do not divorce.

It is generally assumed that if a couple has been together for such a long time they would stay together for the rest of their lives, embodying the vow of being married “’til death do us part.” Unfortunately, due to the inevitable growth of the parties in a relationship, wherein they develop their own personalities and explore their own opportunities (aided, for example, by longer life expectancy), distance between spouses can widen to the point of no return. The Gores cite this as the reason for their split: in a public statement, they said that they had grown apart.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES IN A CHILD CUSTODY CONTEXT

SAN JOSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWYER

As another National Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, there are millions of people around the country who are suffering in silence. Domestic abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the nation, due in part because there is no clear-cut definition of what it is. California’s laws governing domestic violence are very broad, something that victim advocates applaud and anyone who has been falsely accused laments.

Contrary to popular belief, “abuse” does not have to result in physical injury to be considered as contributing to an environment of violence in the home. Physical contact in an emotional or volatile setting – such as a shove in the midst of a heated argument – regardless of whether it causes injury, can be considered abusive. That same action, if occurring during a family football game, for example, would not be seen in the same negative light.

In California, as in many other states, domestic violence laws prohibit not only physical abuse like pushing, shoving, kicking or punching, but also more subtle actions like:

COHABITATION BEFORE MARRIAGE

SAN JOSE DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

A study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics suggests that couples who cohabitate before marriage are less likely to remain together. The study involved men and women aged 15 to 44, and also indicated that couples who are already engaged before moving in together have a better chance of staying together. The study relied on data gleaned from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth.

While opinions on the value of cohabitating before marriage vary widely, the findings of the study are quite clear: couples who live together before marriage are 6 percent less likely to make their marriage work.

The survey shows marked differences between people of different ethnicities and upbringings, and demonstrates discrepancies between men and women of different ages. Overall, however, close to 28 percent of men and women surveyed cohabitated before their first marriages. A very small subset of men and women (18 and 23 percent, respectively) did not live together before getting married.

CALIFORNIA CUSTODY DETERMINATIONS

SANTA CLARA CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

Most parents are unaware of the legal standards used by California courts to make decisions regarding the custody of their children. Many parents may believe that their wishes are the predominate concern or that so long as both parents have come to an agreement on custody then the court must accept that agreement. Although these beliefs may be reasonable, this is not the law in California.

In California, as in most states, the primary consideration above all others in a child custody hearing is the best interests of the children. In effect, this means that courts, not parents, have the final word about what happens to children in custody disputes. A recent California appellate court case holding that parents do not have an absolute constitutional right to home-school their children illustrates the extent of this power.

JONATHAN L. V. SUPERIOR COURT

In Jonathan L. v. Superior Court, the court was asked to determine whether three children would be allowed to live with their parents in light of allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father. Two of the children, both of whom had been home-schooled by their mother, were allowed to remain in the home. The state requested that the children be required to attend public school, arguing that they would have closer contact with mandatory reporters who could alert authorities in the event of suspected abuse. The court rejected this argument, holding that parents have a federal constitutional right to home-school their children.

ABBIE DORN CASE HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES OF DISABLED PARENTS SEEKING CUSTODY OR VISITATION

SAN JOSE CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY

A California judge heard the tragic case of a paralyzed, semiconscious mother of three who, according to her parents, is being denied a relationship with the children whose delivery nearly killed her. Three years ago, expectant mother Abbie Dorn headed to the hospital in labor with triplets.

While two of the children were delivered without incident, before the third could be born, the doctor inadvertently slashed Ms. Dorn’s uterus while performing a Caesarean section. The resulting blood loss caused heart failure, and malfunctioning medical equipment prevented her heart from being restarted quickly enough to minimize damage to her brain. Today Ms. Dorn is totally reliant upon her parents and other caregivers because the severe brain damage she suffered left her paraplegic, basically uncommunicative and in a persistent semiconscious state.

Following the advice of doctors that his wife would never recover, Ms. Dorn’s husband, Dan Dorn, filed for divorce and is raising their three children alone in his home in Los Angeles. The children have not been in contact with their mother for any extended period during their short lives. Abbie Dorn’s parents — acting on her behalf — filed a lawsuit seeking visitation with the children. They claim that Ms. Dorn — while admittedly nonverbal — can communicate with facial gestures and a series of eye blinks and that she has the mental capacity necessary to have a meaningful relationship with the children.

A PRIMER ON CALIFORNIA CHILD CUSTODY LAW

SAN JOSE CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

When a husband and wife divorce or an unmarried couple chooses to go their separate ways, there are countless decisions to be made. Will one party stay in the home or should it be sold? Where will the pets live? Who gets the furniture? How will investment account monies be divided? Are there business interests that need to be addressed? Which vehicle goes to which party? Decisions about property the couple acquired during their time together may be difficult, but they pale in comparison to those involving the couple’s children.​

If a split is amicable, the couple may be able to decide for themselves with whom the children should live, what (if any) child support should be paid, how much parenting time the non-custodial parent will have and other issues that will affect the child and his/her relationship with each parent. In some cases, they may need the assistance of an attorney, mediator or other third party, but are still able to reach a workable resolution for major issues. If, in spite of their best efforts, such decisions cannot be made by the parents themselves, then the court can intervene to make a determination.

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