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Blog Posts in 2017

  • How do I make my request for the court to appoint an attorney for my child?

    Typically the request to appoint an attorney for your child (minor's counsel) must be made by filing a Request for Orders with the Court explaining what the justification for the appointment is. The court can also appoint minor' counsel on its own motion at your hearing if it feels that additional information is required (school records, interviewing child counselor etc.). The court typically ...
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  • If the court appoints an attorney for my child, what is the responsibilities of that attorney to my child?

    Ca family code 3151. (a) addresses this issue. FC 3151(a) states that the attorney for the child is charged with the representation of the child's best interests. The role of the child's counsel is to gather evidence that bears on the best interests of the child, and present that admissible evidence to the court in any manner appropriate for the counsel of a party. If the child so desires, the ...
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  • Can the court appoint an attorney to represent my child in a California family law case?

    Yes. Pursuant to Ca family code section 3150. (a) If the court determines that it would be in the best interest of the minor child, the court may appoint private counsel to represent the interests of the child in a custody or visitation proceeding, provided that the court and counsel comply with the requirements set forth in Rules 5.240, 5.241, and 5.242 of the California Rules of Court.
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  • Will the Court appoint me an attorney in California family court if I cannot afford one?

    No, there is no requirement that the court appoint counsel for indigent spouses/parties in dissolution proceedings to be laid at the county expense. However, indigent spouses/parties may qualify for fee waivers that would not require that they pay court fees or costs (such as filing fees or court reporter fees). The only exception to the appointment of an attorney for the party is for contempt ...
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  • The other parent bad mouths my new significant other/ step-parent Is there anything I can do to stop or limit this behavior?

    The answer turns on who is present when these comments are being made. If the children are not present, the court cannot make an order restraining a parent from making comments regarding the new significant other as that would constitute an undue restraint on speech. However, if these comments are being made in the children's presence, the court could make an order to "not making disparaging ...
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  • Can the court impose a requirement that I submit to an indefinite order for drug or alcohol testing as a prerequisite to custody or visitation?

    No. This very subject was addressed in a recent case (Heidi S. Vs. David H). In that case, the Court made an order that required mother to submit to drug testing indefinitely as a condition of increased and eventual unmonitored visitation, and to order that a positive or missed drug or alcohol test would trigger a return to limited monitored visitation. The Court may only order testing for a ...
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  • What kind of testing can I request if I suspect the other parent has a substance abuse issue?

    The Court can make an order that a parent must submit to random alcohol or dug testing by means of a breathalyzer or urine test. The court cannot order a hair follicle test over the objection of either party. With urine tests, either the parent or the court-ordered facility provides the parent with a window of time to appear and submit to a urine test. There is usually a 4 hour window that cannot ...
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  • Can the court order drug/alcohol testing of the other parent?

    Yes, if competent evidence that either the parent has a substance abuse issue, the court can order the drug or alcohol testing of the parent. Competent evidence could include a criminal record(DUI) involving substance abuse, witnesses to the substance abuse or other social media depicting the substance abuse. The Court must make a finding that based on a preponderance of the evidence that the ...
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  • Can the court order counseling for either the parents or for our children in a California family law case?

    Yes, the court can order counseling pursuant to family code section 3190 if it finds that such counseling would be beneficial to the children. The focus of the counseling is dispute resolution and teaching the parents co-parenting skills rather than resolving marital or relationship disputes. The cost for such counseling is usually equally divided between the parties and may continue for a finite ...
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  • What is a special master in the child custody context?

    A special master is someone appointed by the court that both parents must bring their grievances to rather than the Court. The special master is either an attorney or a physiologist if the matter is child custody related only. The special master has the delegated authority to resolve the issues with the parents rather than the parties coming to court on the filing of multiple Request for Orders to ...
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  • Am I able to put on live testimony (call witnesses) at my Request for Orders hearing?

    If you intend to put on live testimony other than the parties to the action, you must provide written notice to the other party of the person you desire to testify along with a brief summary of what they intend to testify about. Failure to provide such notice will preclude you from calling any witnesses. However, just because you list a witness does not guarantee that this witness will actually ...
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  • The other parent took my children out of the state under the pretenses that they were going to return, what do I do?

    As set forth elsewhere, it is not uncommon for one parent to deceive the other parent that they will be visiting family in another state for a short period only to return after the visit. The parent then requests additional time in other state or tells the other parent that they will be staying in the other state and not returning the children. If this occurs, it is imperative to file and serve ...
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  • Is there a residency requirement for me to file for custody in a particular county or state?

    To file for child custody or visitation (via dissolution or parentage action), you must file in the state where the child has lived with a parent or parent acting as a parent for at least 6 months immediately preceding the commencement of the action, or from birth of the child if less than 6 months. In California, you must also be a resident of the county for three months prior to filing your ...
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  • How do I serve the other parent with my request for modification of the existing parenting plan?

    The answer depends on whether only temporary orders have been made (pre-judgment) or whether is a final order (post-judgment). If the matter is the former, service by mail is acceptable. If the matter is post-judgment, personal service is required unless the other parent completes and submits an address verification form that verifies that they mailed the documents to the right address. Under ...
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  • What are improper grounds to modify a child custody order?

    I can only provide a sample of the grounds (as there are many). The first primary improper grounds to modify an order is "unclean hands". That is, one party is just being difficult or unpleasant in either their actions or conduct. Examples could be chronic lateness to exchanges, driving too fast, not attending the children's school functions etc. An additional improper grounds to modify a custody ...
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