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California custody attorney, California family law attorneyFamilies come in all shapes and sizes. With 40 to 50 percent of all marriages divorcing and an increasing remarriage rate, we see an unprecedented evolution in the traditional family home. No longer is the image of one mother, one father, and two children the normal makeup of the average family. Now, children are loved and cared for not only by their biological parents, but their new parents also love them with such fervor, it resembles that of an actual biological tie. With this changing family dynamic, we are witnessing legal cases redefine the child custody lines. With laws such as the “Third Parent Law,” what is the best interest of the children is entirely achievable through the avenues of mediation or litigation.

Is Three a Crowd?

Although it is common to find most children with one mother and one father, or two mothers, or two fathers, three is gaining popularity. The ability to have three parents was made possible by the plight of one family when all three demonstrated fitness as parents. Therefore, California Legislature determined “most children have two parents, but in rare cases, children have more than two people who are that child’s parent in every way. Separating a child from a parent has a devastating psychological and emotional impact on the child, and courts must have the power to protect children from this harm.” With this passage, not only may a child have three parents, they may have more if it is in the child’s best interest.

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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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California child custody attorney, California mediation lawyerDuring a divorce, many topics are necessary to consider. None of them are insignificant as each detail assisted in building a life together. However, one of the larger situations that require careful consideration is the child custody and visitation arrangements. The decisions made affect not only the adults in the situation but also the children and will continue to influence everyone involved for the years to come. The best solution is chosen during divorce mediation, or a judge can lay out a plan of action through divorce litigation.

Understanding Custody

There is more to determining custody than just with whom the child will live. Two forms of care need establishing, both physical and legal custody. Each of these types of care has various options within them. Understanding the options makes the decision-making process easier, so let us explain.

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Posted on in Paternity

California paternity attorney, California family law attorneyThere are many reasons for establishing paternity. Whether for peace of mind, for medical history or for child support, no reason is too small and doing so can be beneficial for the child or children involved. Paternity testing may be initiated by either the mother or the father and likewise can be challenged by either party. However, once parentage is established, it may be difficult to alter the determination of paternity. 

Why Anyone May Challenge

There are many reasons why someone may wish to legally prove that the listed biological father is not scientifically the biological father. A father may believe that the child is his and want to be a part of his child’s life, yet the mother may have claimed someone else as the father in order to keep the real father away. No matter the reason, challenging paternity tests may be the way to obtain the resolution you are hoping for.

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California child custody attorney, California family law attorneyEstablishing Parentage

California law automatically assumes both parents are the biological parents if they are married at the time of the birth. However, this is not true if the parents are not married to each other. Parentage of the child must first be established before any custody issues are pursued. This may be done simply by filing a voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This may have been done at the hospital at the time of birth, which would have put both parents’ names on the birth certificate. If it was not completed immediately, it may be done later. This form may be picked up and filled out at any of the following locations:

  • Local Child Support Agency (LCSA),
  • Registrar of Births,
  • Family Law Facilitator’s office at your local Superior Court, or
  • Welfare offices.

The form may be completed at these offices or must be signed and witnessed by a notary public. Once this form is completed, it is not effective until it has been filed at the California Department of Child Support Services Paternity Opportunity Program (POP).  

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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