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California divorce lawyer, California family law attorneyAs parents, we try to do everything in our power to protect our children. In California state law, the determination of custody and visitation schedule revolves solely on what is in the best interest of the child. However, past a certain age, the child begins to have a significant amount more weight in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to child custody and visitation.

When the Child Decides

As parents, we know what is best for our children. However, there comes the point in their life when they begin to have wants, needs, and opinions that may differ from ours. It is a part of the growing up process, and our children will inevitably reach this point as we did with our parents. That age is different for each person, so who determines at what age this is an age appropriate decision? A few years ago, California resolved the dispute by setting guidelines for which to follow. According to California Family Code 3042, consideration will be given to the preferences of the child if:

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Californian family law attorney, California custody lawyerWhen it comes to our children, we all strive to be the best parent we can be. We want the perfect house, a successful career, and to see our kids grow up to become self-sufficient and one day has a family of their own. These life goals do not stop once we divorce our spouse. Additionally, from a child’s point-of-view, the only thing they want is to know they are loved and supported by both parents, regardless of their feelings for each other. Based on this understanding, the first right of refusal is a clause found in many child custody arrangements.

What is the first right of refusal?

Whether it is for a 12-hour work shift or a night out with friends, not all parents have the ability to be with their children 24-hours a day, every single day. The First Right of Refusal (FROR) concept in California means that if one parent is unable to be with the child, the other parent is the first person contacted to watch the child. This right is afforded in the child custody agreement and is applicable to both planned and unplanned events. Parents utilizing this clause enjoy the benefits of:

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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyAccording to CDC, an estimated 6.7 million couples have difficulty conceiving a child due to a wide variety of factors. After years of failed attempts, many turn to alternative solutions to complete their family. One avenue increasing in popularity is surrogacy. Through this method, a woman carries the child of another individual or couple until birth, then gives the child to the parents. A maternal bond develops naturally during the nine month gestation period which can create complications after delivery. Occasionally, the original arrangement no longer suits the surrogate mother and a custody dispute ensues.

Forms of Surrogacy

There are several different forms of surrogacy that a couple can choose, usually depending on the issue hindering their ability to conceive naturally. Two of these options stand out among the rest. The two most popularly utilized are:

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Posted on in Family Law

California divorce attorney, California mediation lawyerA rising number of couples are turning to in vitro fertilization for child conception. Many use this methodology to conceive after years of difficulty. Recent scientific studies show that IVF significantly increases the likelihood of conception. Meanwhile, other future parents choose this alternative as a way to preserve their ability for when they are more financially stable and able to care for their beloved child. However, a lot can happen between the egg retrieval and the time at which the eggs are utilized. Sometimes, couples need to go their separate ways through divorce litigation or mediation. Do these frozen embryos qualify for custody arrangements or property division?

Why Is This an Issue?

There currently is no legislation in California regarding the usage of embryos after a divorce. The downfall to this is that each court then must decide the outcome based simply on the facts of the case, without taking into consideration the emotional or physical needs of either individual. As an embryo is a fertilized egg, meaning it has DNA donated from each biological parent, and many fertility clinics require a contract from both sides before completion of the procedure. There is often a clause in this contract indicating what to do with the embryos in the event of a divorce. Unfortunately, we are not all born with the capabilities of seeing into the future, and at the point of signing, these two individuals are often so full of every other emotion, divorce is not the forefront option. Within many of these contracts, couples readily agree to destroy the embryos should a divorce occur.

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California child custody lawyer, California family law attorneyWe are in the middle of the busy holiday season, and newly divorced parents are learning to cope with a new lifestyle. This year, there may be new child custody and visitation arrangements between everyone, creating unique challenges during the festivities. Not only is the situation difficult for the parents, but it is also a strain on any children involved. Although fewer than 50 percent of children today grow up with a “traditional family,” the constant flood of family togetherness during holiday media can create confusion for your family. There are a few steps that can assist in making the season easier for everyone after divorce.

Start New Traditions

If the thought of going on a nighttime drive to see all the decorated houses causes anxiety and sadness because one parent is absent, perhaps consider a new venue, such as a park to see the lights or a holiday festival. Continue with the traditions that do not create a significant amount of negative emotions, but if necessary, start new ones. Other holiday traditions to consider for something brand new are:

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