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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
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Los Gatos divorce lawyer limited scope representationA divorce can be costly in many ways. For example, your out-of-pocket living expenses will go up, at least in the short-term, as you pay for a separate residence and all the costs associated with moving and furnishing your new home. You may also be thinking ahead to years of child support payments and other child care costs, as well as saving for retirement as a single person rather than as a couple. 

In order to net the highest value from your division of property and minimize the cost of the divorce proceeding itself, you might consider handling some aspects of the divorce yourself. Rather than pay for a “full service” attorney for both spouses, you might want to consider limited scope representation, also known as unbundled legal services.

Typically, a divorce lawyer will handle all legal aspects of your divorce from start to finish. This commonly includes:

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Los Gatos CACI defense attorneyThe California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) requires teachers, doctors, and others who work with children to report any “reasonable suspicion” of child neglect or abuse. Reports can also come from other sources. For example, allegations of child abuse or neglect are sometimes made maliciously in the course of a bitter divorce or child custody battle. Accusations may also be made out of an excess of caution, or due to a misinterpretation of something a child says or does. Whether true or not, the mere accusation can be hurtful and affect your access to your children. 

Child abuse reports are investigated by a child protective services agency in the county where the child lives. In Santa Clara County, that would be the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). These investigations must be taken seriously, because they could result in your name being put on the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). This will show up on a pre-employment background check for any job that involves working with children.

A child abuse investigation will conclude with a finding of unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. If a finding of “substantiated” is entered against you with the California Department of Justice, your name will be added to the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), where it will remain for your lifetime.

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Los Gatos divorce child relocation attorneyMaking sure a child maintains a good relationship with both parents after a divorce is a worthy goal. It can also be difficult to achieve. It is not uncommon for one parent to need to move to a new home and community for work or family reasons. When this happens, it can upend the child custody and visitation agreement that was originally worked out.

Overview of California Law on Child Custody

California law encourages parents to work out their own agreement with regard to child custody and visitation. Once that agreement has been approved by a judge, it has the force of a court order. Violation of that order can result in a criminal contempt proceeding. Specifically, if one parent violates that order, such as by moving to a location that would make it impossible to follow the agreed parenting time schedule, the other parent can file an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Contempt with the court. The parent in violation can be subject to criminal penalties such as community service, jail time, and/or fines. 

How Child Custody Law Applies to One Parent Moving Away

California law does not specifically require that divorced parents remain within a certain distance of one another to facilitate visitation. Parents are free, however, to include a requirement in their parenting plan that both parents remain within a certain geographic area. Then, if one parent tries to violate that agreement by moving far away, the other parent has legal recourse. If such a clause was not included in the court-approved parenting plan, then the issue becomes less clear. 

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Los Gatos divorce mediation attorneyIf you are unclear about the reasons for choosing divorce mediation over one-on-one negotiations or resolving issues in court (litigation), you are not alone. You might wonder if mediation is only appropriate for couples that still have a positive working relationship, or can it also work for couples who cannot seem to stop fighting? You may also wonder if it is a process you and your spouse can choose for yourselves, or is it something the court will order you to do?

Is Mediation Voluntary or Court Ordered in Santa Clara County?

The California courts generally prefer for divorcing couples to reach a settlement on their own. Couples are free to work out their settlement agreement through whatever process they prefer: on their own, through attorney-to-attorney negotiations, with the help of a family law mediator, or some combination of those methods.

However, the family court in each county may have its own local rules. In Santa Clara County, when parents cannot resolve a child custody or visitation dispute on their own, the court may order them to participate in mediation. A judge will typically settle such issues only as a last resort.

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Los Gatos divorce and child custody lawyerMany divorced couples want to co-parent their children in a joint physical custody arrangement but struggle with the amount of coordination it requires. 50/50 parenting time schedules can be hard on the children, too, as they have to move between their parents’ houses regularly. To address this, some parents have opted for a “nesting” arrangement, wherein the children stay in a single home and the parents rotate in and out.

The Pros and Cons of Nesting in California 

Some of the benefits of a nesting arrangement include:

  • Children have the stability of one place to eat, sleep, and play. This can be most beneficial during the early stages of a divorce.
  • Parents save back-and-forth trips for needed items. When a child frequently changes houses, it is too easy to forget or run out of something they need.
  • Only one set of childcare paraphernalia is needed, and it gets to stay in one place. This is especially beneficial during a child’s infant and toddler years. Maintaining two sets of everything--cribs, high chairs, special toys and blankets, special food and bottles, etc.--is costly. 
  • When parents live far apart, it can be easier for the parents to travel to the nesting house than to shift the children back and forth, especially when one parent has the flexibility to work remotely. When the children stay in the nest, parents avoid having to drive or fly the children back and forth or having the children travel unaccompanied.

Nesting can also be problematic in several ways:

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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

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