Child Custody & Child Support

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Custody issues during summer vacation

On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Friday, June 2, 2017. With the end of the school year perhaps days away, you and your kids are probably excitedly looking forward to vacation plans. Perhaps you anticipate a trip to the beach, camping in the woods or a visit to relatives in another state. Since your divorce, you likely want to maintain some of the summer traditions that your children have enjoyed, and once school is over, you will have the freedom to make those things happen. However, if you have a court ordered custody arrangement with your former spouse, you may need to stop and consider before you gather the kids and go. Making summer as painless as possible Unless your current custody arrangement already provides a schedule for summer activities, you may want to arrange a meeting with your co-parent as soon as possible. Defying a court order to take the kids to the beach or send them off to camp may land you in legal trouble that could jeopardize your custody privileges. If you and your former spouse have a less-than-amicable relationship, there are some options: Plan your summer schedules through emails or online parenting sites. Arrange for mediation with a neutral decision maker. Enlist your attorney to meet with your spouse's attorney to discuss the issues. Request a hearing before a judge, and allow the court to determine the summer schedule. The court will typically decide how much vacation time each of you will have with the children, how much notice you must give each other before taking a trip, and the distance and location of your trips. This last item may be especially important if you have very young children. Help with modifying custody orders The most desirable way to deal with child custody conflicts is to talk [...]

Fact versus fiction regarding traveling with kids after divorce

On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Thursday, June 29, 2017. As a divorced parent in California, you likely faced several challenges regarding a new parenting plan as you navigated the process of severing your marital ties in court. Whether you have one child or several, it often takes a significant amount of negotiation to iron the wrinkles in a prospective plan for the future care and upbringing of children post-divorce. As you may already know or actually experienced, if you and your children's other parent are unable to agree, the court steps in to dictate the matter for you. As far as traveling with children after divorce, there are some common misguided notions circulating about what the average parent may or may not do regarding taking children on vacation. Clarifying the issues It's important to know and understand as much about child custody laws as possible to avoid negative surprises and contentious disagreements with your former spouse. Following, are some of the most common myths where travel is concerned, as well as corrections that state the facts: Myth: A custodial parent may take children anywhere at any time without letting anyone know and a non-custodial parent is prohibited from traveling with children. Fact: If a court order exists, both parents must adhere to the terms of their agreement, especially where travel restrictions may apply. Both parents may travel with children unless the court has forbidden it for some reason. Myth: A parent may travel out-of-state, even overseas, with children after divorce without seeking agreement from the other parent. Fact: Not only is it typical that parental agreement is needed, but the court must also approve any plan that intends to remove a child or children from its jurisdiction. Myth: There are standard, one-size-fits-all regulations governing travel with children after divorce. Fact: While each state [...]

Are you concerned about how divorce impacts your kids?

On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Friday, August 4, 2017. As a California parent, you undoubtedly want to ensure that your children have the best upbringing possible. Because your actions will affect your kids in some form or fashion, you likely closely consider any serious life changes you may feel the need to make. However, even though you know your children could face serious impacts, you may believe that certain actions are unavoidable. One issue that you and many other parents face concerns divorce. You may have realized that your marriage no longer has sustainability, and as a result, you and your spouse may soon move through legal proceedings. Of course, you likely have worries about how your children will fare through the ordeal. Stress Unsurprisingly, divorce can cause a considerable amount of stress for everyone involved. No matter what their ages, your children can have intense feelings about the situation. Even though they may not have involvement in the legal proceedings themselves, they can still easily pick up on tensions and have concerns about how their parental relationships will change after divorce. Psychological impacts Additionally, you may have concerns that these significant changes will cause your children to act out or develop psychological issues. Certainly, ending a marriage can have such impacts on kids, especially if they feel that they must take on responsibilities in hopes of making the situation easier on you and their other parent. Therefore, you may wish to remain aware of your children's actions and take steps to address issues if you feel that they have not handled the news of divorce and subsequent changes in a healthy manner. Resiliency Good news about this type of situation relates the children's resiliency. In the majority of cases, children often do not have significant emotional or [...]

Will your school-time parenting plan make the grade?

On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Sunday, September 3, 2017. You may be among numerous California parents who finalized their divorces at the end of the last school year or during the summer. In that case, you haven't really had the chance to test the school-time parenting plan you negotiated during the divorce. As your children make their way back to school here in Santa Rosa, you will more than likely be implementing a new schedule for the school year. The summer may have gone well, so your hopes are high, but you may encounter roadblocks that you didn't anticipate. Communication is key During the summer, schedules are more relaxed, but once the school year starts, a series of deadlines come into play. Who will drop off the children, who will pick them up and what about extracurricular activities? What happens if you or the other parent has to work late? Do you each have contingency plans in case one of you has to work late or some other last minute obligation arises? You could communicate via texts or phone calls with the understanding that each of you expects a timely response. There are phone apps that can help you keep on task, keep track of the children's schedules and keep track of which parent does what and at what time. Each of you may need to be flexible enough to account for last minute changes in the schedule. Speaking of changes... Too many last minute schedule changes could mean that whatever plan you came up with may not be working well. You may need to consider making some changes to the schedule. More than likely, both of you wanted to have as much time with the children as possible, and you may have made some decisions without [...]

Legal custody versus physical custody: What’s the difference?

On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Friday, October 27, 2017. As a California parent, you may be concerned about how your decision to end your marriage could impact your children. This is a normal concern, but you are not powerless to do anything about it. In fact, with a full understanding of your parental rights and experienced guidance, you can draft a custody plan that helps your children have stability and security during this difficult time. In your effort to minimize the impact that your divorce will have on your children, you may be wondering the best way to approach the difficult issue of child support. One of the most beneficial things you can do is to learn more about your parental rights and the types of child custody. What does custody have to do with your rights? There are two types of child custody that you may wish to consider as you work toward a beneficial child custody arrangement, physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to anything pertaining to the following: Education preferences and school choice Religious upbringing Medical care and health care decisions Extracurricular activities Special decisions and other matters Legal custody refers to the parent's right to make important decisions on behalf of his or her child. In many parenting plans, just one parent will retain legal custody while sharing physical custody with the other parent. Physical custody pertains to the time that a child will spend with a parent, including during: Weekend visitation School breaks Christmas and other major holidays Summer vacation No two custody plans are exactly the same. You may find that it is possible to share both legal and physical custody with your spouse, but this doesn't work for all families. Your family is unique, and you have the [...]