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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca408-395-8822
20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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CA family lawyerWhen parents choose to end their marriage and get divorced, they and their family members must restructure their lives. There is often an adjustment period as children become accustomed to living in two separate homes, but ideally, parents can help them overcome their difficulties by working together to provide for children’s best interests. However, after families have settled into their new living arrangements, parents’ circumstances may change. If a parent decides to move to a new home, they should be sure to understand how this will affect their child custody agreement.

Relocating with a Child

When a parent who has primary physical custody of a child or shares physical custody with the child’s other parent wishes to move to a new home, they must provide notice to the other parent, and they must file a motion in court seeking to have their child custody order modified. If the other parent objects to the move, an evidentiary hearing will be held to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

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CA family lawyerWhen parents decide to end their marriage and get divorced, their divorce decree will include the decisions made about child custody and visitation, including the rights both parents have in making decisions regarding how their children will be raised and schedules for the time that children will spend with each parent. The decree serves as a court order, and parents are required by law to follow its terms. Unfortunately, situations often occur in which one parent interferes with the other parent’s custodial rights or parenting time. In these cases, it is important for parents to understand their options for enforcing their custody order.

Enforcement of Court Orders

Interference with custody or visitation can occur in a variety of ways. One parent may not inform the other about children’s medical treatments or educational needs, or they may fail to consult with the other parent when making important decisions. A parent may refuse to allow the other parent to spend visitation time with their children, possibly because there is a dispute about the payment of child support. In the worst cases, a parent may abduct their child, taking them away from the other parent and cutting off communication.

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CA child custody lawyerDuring divorce, spouses may feel some animosity toward each other, which is to be expected when a relationship has fallen apart. Unfortunately, the fallout from the breakup of a marriage can also affect the children of divorcing parents, and in some cases, a parent will actively attempt to harm their children’s relationship with the other parent in hopes of influencing the outcome of child custody disputes. This is known as parental alienation, and it can be incredibly damaging to children’s mental health and well-being. During a contentious divorce case, parents should watch for the warning signs of this type of behavior and seek legal help when necessary.

Types of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can take many forms, including:

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California family lawyerDuring their parents’ divorce, children often experience a great deal of emotional turmoil, and the stress of living in a high-conflict home, uncertainty about the future, and difficulty adjusting to new living arrangements can lead to short-term and long-term physical and mental health issues. Even though parents may disagree about who will have legal and physical custody of their children, they should be able to work together to put their children’s best interests first. When doing so, they should consider recent research which shows that children often fare best in shared custody situations in which they spend near-equal amounts of time with each parent.

Research on Shared Parenting

Until recently, it was often considered best for children to primarily live with one parent after divorce, and experts believed that the stability of a single home was preferable to adjusting to living in two homes. However, a number of recent studies have countered these assumptions and found that children often benefit from sharing time with both parents. Findings of these studies include:

  • Regardless of the level of contentiousness between parents during their divorce, children in shared custody situations (in which they live with each parent at least 35% of the time) experienced less stress than those who live primarily with one parent.
  • When children live in shared parenting situations, they tend to have better relationships with their parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
  • Children in shared custody families show better academic achievement and emotional health.
  • Children in shared parenting situations experience fewer behavioral problems, such as juvenile delinquency, misbehavior in school, bullying, or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
  • While many believe that infants and toddlers should primarily reside with their mothers, studies found that their bonds with both parents do not suffer when mothers and fathers share overnight parenting time.
  • The level of parental conflict tends to be a separate issue from parenting time. Children experience benefits from shared parenting, even in high-conflict situations, including when one parent objects to a shared parenting situation.
  • The benefits of shared parenting are not related to parents’ income level.

Ultimately, shared parenting allows children to have a close, ongoing relationship with both parents, and the benefits of these bonds outweigh the problems caused by conflict between parents. While parents should strive to keep their children from being caught in the middle of their disagreements, they should also understand the importance of being a primary figure in their kids’ lives.


Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

In modern divorces, child custody arrangements often reflect the nature of how today’s parents care for their children, with both parents participating closely in guiding their children’s development. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can help you create a child custody agreement which will protect your children’s best interests and help them thrive following your divorce. Contact a Los Gatos family law attorney at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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California divorce lawyerThe end of a long-term relationship is often a difficult time for everyone involved, and during a divorce or break-up, couples will likely experience a great deal of emotional turbulence as they establish new living situations, separate their finances, and determine how to move forward with their lives. These situations often involve a high level of conflict, and disagreements can become even more contentious when children are involved.

The decisions made about child custody will affect parents’ and children’s lives for years to come, so divorcing parents should be sure they fully understand their rights and keep their children’s best interests in mind. Here are some tips to follow when working to reach a resolution in child custody disputes:

  1. Do not involve children in conflict - It is important to protect children from arguments between parents, allowing them to maintain good relationships with both their parents going forward. Never try to alienate your children against their other parent or use them to send messages to your ex.

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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