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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 lawyerToday’s world is more connected than ever, and the internet provides us with the ability to communicate with others no matter where we go or what we do. For many, social media is an essential part of their everyday existence, giving them the opportunity to share their lives with friends, family, and even total strangers.

People who are going through a divorce may be tempted to post details about their situation on social media, whether they are asking others for advice, informing friends and family members about changes to their lives, or simply venting their emotions. However, it is important to understand that there may be legal consequences to doing so. Here are some ways social media can have an impact on a divorce case:

  • Negativity and over-sharing - Complaining about your ex, discussing the reasons your marriage has failed or laying blame for your divorce are all natural impulses, but angry social media posts can be taken out of context and used against you. In some cases, they could even be considered harassment, and they could affect the decisions made in divorce court.
  • Financial information - Even if you do not discuss your income, the information you share could affect financial matters related to your divorce. Posting photos of an expensive item you have purchased or discussing a lavish vacation could impact the decisions regarding the division of property. Mentioning income earned from a side job could affect the child support or spousal support you pay or receive.
  • Child custody - While you may feel that what you do on your own time should have no bearing on your relationship with your children, a judge may feel otherwise. Pictures of parties, nights out on the town, alcohol consumption, or other activities that could be seen as morally questionable could be used to call your judgment and parenting ability into question during child custody disputes.
  • Privacy and permanence - Anything you post online could eventually become a factor in your divorce proceedings. Even if you think a message is private, it could make its way to your ex (and their attorney). A post that has been deleted may still be accessible for people who know where to look. Never post or share anything that you would not want to have to defend in court.

Ultimately, it may be best to avoid using social media altogether during your divorce, but at a minimum, you should avoid discussing the divorce or sharing details about your life that may come into play during divorce proceedings.

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Posted on in Paternity

California divorce lawyerIn California, having a legal mother and father can be very beneficial to a child. But not every child is born to a family with a legal father. California recognizes a child’s legal paternity if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, or if the father is living with the mother and child in a family-like situation and demonstrates a commitment to the child. But if California does not automatically recognize a child’s paternity, there are two ways to establish it.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

If a child’s mother and father wish to voluntarily establish the child’s paternity, they may sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP) form, acknowledging that they are the child’s parents. If the mother gives birth in a hospital, the hospital will provide her with the form, and, if the father signs at the hospital, his name will be put on the child’s birth certificate. If the parents sign the VDP later, a new birth certificate, including the father’s name, can be issued.

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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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