Child Custody Evaluations – Focused or Full

Published on 04 January 2012 by in blog

As attorneys in Los Angeles County we have seen Child Custody Evaluations evolve. As they have become more commonplace, due to the allegations by alienating parents of child abuse and sexual molesting, courts such as the Los Angeles Superior Court are focusing their court orders to be more issue specific in an effort to reduce costs.

The traditional child custody evaluation is a Full Child Custody Evaluation and that involves home visits, meeting and/or interviewing collateral people such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. This is a costly and time consuming process that can take up to a year to complete but usually takes only a few months. Our cases in Los Angeles County and Orange County have generally taken about 4-6 months with us as the lawyers keeping the child custody evaluation on track. Often times the alienating parent tries to stall the process as much as possible.

The Focused child custody evaluation is generally ordered when there are limited funds or a clear situation that the court needs additional information on. In Los Angeles County the courts can order a Solution Focused Evaluation when they need a “down and dirty” analysis of what is going on. This utilizes the social workers of the county to interview the parties in the morning session of court and then there is a hearing in the afternoon. We generally prefer that a private evaluator be appointed who can take more time and care.

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Child Custody Evaluations and Parental Alienation

Published on 04 January 2012 by in blog

Parental Alienation cases in Los Angeles County generally require that a Child Custody Evaluation be ordered by the court. A child custody evaluation can be ordered by the Los Angeles Superior Court ( or whatever court you are in) to be paid for at county expense, or at the parties expense. As budget cuts throughout the state of California such as Ventura county, Los Angeles County or Orange County, have made county paid Child Custody Evaluations harder to come by, more judges are ordering private pays.

In parental Alienation cases, the alienating parent will usually be shown to be a narcissistic personality or a borderline personality, when a good evaluator determines that there is a personality disorder involved they will make recommendations based on the severity of the disorder and on ways to reunify the targeted parent and child.

Child Custody Evaluations in Parental Alienation cases should be approached carefully, and the targeted parent should be aware of what is required, the costs, and how to best approach the process. As family law attorneys who have handled many Parental Alienation cases, we can advise you as experienced lawyers, based on the circumstances, how to handle yourself and the alienating parent. We have represented child custody and divorce clients from San Diego to the Oregon border. Primarily we practice in Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Orange County.

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Domestic Violence Defense

Published on 03 January 2012 by in blog

For someone who is being accused of Domestic Violence, the defenses are difficult to come by, because Domestic Violence is defined so broadly these days.

The best defense is to prevent the allegation in the first place, unfortunately that often puts a man in a difficult and uncomfortable position of having to either charge his partner with domestic abuse first, or leave the home. Leaving the home means that he is giving up his children though, and that is not easy for most men.

If you’ve been charged with Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse in Los Angeles County, you have some defenses such as Self Defense, Primary Aggressor and Toxic Environment, but they are hard to prove and you should not attempt to do so without a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney.

We handle cases in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, and Orange County.

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Alimony Laws are Changing

Published on 03 January 2012 by in blog

If you’re paying Spousal Support, sometimes called Alimony, or if you’re in the pre-Divorce stage and planning your divorce, take a look at moving to Florida. There’s a bill in the legislature to limit how long you pay alimony for.

It’s welcome relief for some men, if it passes, and hopefully this trend will continue nationwide as more states are revisiting the realities of family life today. Most couples are two income these days, and as this article states:

Even those who don’t support the pending legislation would likely agree that for most divorces, both spouses who are educated should have a responsibility to work. Long gone are the days where only one spouse provides the financial support for the family while the other stays at home to raise the children.

For my clients in Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Orange County, when I’ve tried to reduce Spousal Support it is usually a matter of a long term war, where we have to employ private investigators, court orders for vocational testing and finding leverage on the supported spouse.

I’ve had success in getting both courts to lower spousal support and ex-spouses to realize that the gravy train of alimony is stopping. Paying spousal support to an ex for a lifetime may be coming to an end, at least in some cases and states.

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Father’s Rights in Child Custody Cases

Published on 31 December 2011 by in blog

Fathers have just as many rights to their children in California as mothers do. The problem is that fathers are usually not as prepared for the child custody battle as mothers and so they don’t think about what their child custody rights are until after they have been taken away.

Child custody laws are the same throughout California and in each of the counties such as Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange county and San Diego County. Child Custody laws are designed to be uniform so that parents don’t try to move from one county to another county to get an upperhand.

Child Custody Rights are found in the Family Code of California. In it each parent has an equal right to physical custody – this is referred to as Joint Physical Custody. Each parent also has an equal right to legal custody – this is referred to as Joint Legal Custody.

What often happens is that one parent, usually the father, moves out of the family home leaving the child with the mother. This gives her the Primary Physical Custody of the child and means that he will have visitation. This is where he has lost most of his leverage in negotiating, it happens when he moves out of the home.

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Falsely Accused of Child Sexual Abuse?

Published on 31 December 2011 by in blog

For the father who is falsely accused of child sexual abuse there is perhaps only one other gut punch that can be thrown at him.

Fathers who have been accused by vindictive mothers alleging he ‘digitally penetrated’ their child or she thinks he may be ‘digitally penetrating’ their child have been attacked on a level that is akin to global thermonuclear war. An innocent man who is facing a courtroom where he has been accused of child sexual abuse has a sense of betrayal that is unmatched.

For the father who must fight false accusations that he digitally penetrated his daughter or son will never be able to look at his false accuser the same way.

The real abuse in a case of false accusations comes from the accuser. It is as bad, perhpaps worse, than the crime they allege, because they are attempting to destroy the relationhsip between father and child. On the surface it looks like she is out to get him, but the real damage is done to the child who could lose a loving parent, and be left with a lying parent who doesn’t have the child’s best interest at heart.

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False Accusations of Child Molesting

Published on 31 December 2011 by in blog

This is the ugliest, meanest, cruelest most heinous thing that people do in a divorce or child custody and visitation battle – they accuse the other parent of child molesting.

Usually it is mothers who are accusing the fathers of molesting their own children in some way. It can be as simple as ‘inappropriate touching’ to actual penetration. The allegations usually are made as part of an application for a Domestic Violence Prevention Act Temporary Restraining Order, but sometimes they are made through the local Department of Child and Family Services.

In NO cases are these to be ignored or taken lightly. Judges in courts throughout Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County and Santa Barbara County, and the other 54 counties of California all react quickly to protect a child who is alleged to be abused.

The sad part is that these allegations are being made more commonly in divorce and child custody and visitation battles when the parties involved know that nothing has happened. It is the nuclear option in a divorce or child custody case.

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False Accusations of Domestic Abuse

Published on 31 December 2011 by in blog

In Domestic Relations cases such as Child Custody battles, Divorces, Paternity cases and Domestic Violence cases, there are frequently false accusations made. Either they are intentionally false, made in a ‘win at all costs’ mindset or unintentially false which happens when people are inclined to exaggerate.

The problem for the person who is being restrained in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is that they usually have no opportunity prior to the first court hearing to dispute the other sides version of the domestic abuse that is alleged. In California counties such as Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara, along with the other 54 counties, a judge or commissioner will review the application for a Temporary Restraining Order and rarely speak to the applicant before issuing it.

Here’s the process, Party A wants to get a Temporary Restraining Order so they fill out the paperwork and say whatever they want to, true or not, and turn it in to a judge to read. The Judge usually reads the papers in their chambers and depending on what is in the paperwork will either issue or deny the Temporary Restraining Order under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act guidelines.

The Restrained Person probably has NO notice of this until they are served with the Temporary Restraining Order. Sometimes that means they are given 10 minutes to gather their belongings from their home and then go find somewhere else to sleep that night.

And it can all happen on a false allegation by Party A, and the Restrained person can’t argue until they have a court date, which is usually 21 days later.

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Domestic Violence Prevention Act in Los Angeles

Published on 30 December 2011 by in blog

Throughout Los Angeles County, in all the Superior Court Civil buildings there are resources to assist people in the filling out of Domestic Violence Prevention Act restraining orders.

Each civil courthouse has a designated Department that will review the application for a temporary restraining order to be issued pursuant to Family Code Section 6200, which grants courts the power to remove individuals from their homes if they have committed domestic battery, domestic violence, domestic abuse, spousal battery, spousal abuse, intimate partner abuse and/or child abuse or child endangerment.

Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, a judicial officer, whether a judge, a commissioner or a commissioner pro tem, may issue a temporary restraining order that prevents the restrained person from being near the protected person. This protection includes children and animals and results in parents, both fathers and mothers, being separated from their children for up to 21 days on the allegations of the complaining party.

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What is Domestic Battery ?

Published on 30 December 2011 by in blog

People frequently ask the question of What is Domestic Battery? In California domestic battery is the intentional or reckless attempt to cause bodily injury, it is also sexual assault.

Domestic Battery is also called Domestic Violence, Spousal Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence and Intimate Partner Abuse.

Domestic Battery can be as minor as touching someone when they don’t want to be touched, to extreme physical damage that results in hospitalizations and in some cases death.

If someone is charged with Domestic Battery, they need to seek the assistance of an attorney immediately. There are severe consequences for allegations of Domestic Abuse that can affect child custody and visitation, along with criminal sanctions.

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