Child custody and visitation can be two of the most contentious issues in a divorce in California. Many people in Sacramento who are contemplating a divorce regard child custody and visitation as the most difficult questions that must be resolved in a divorce, but sometimes, the circumstances of the parents may prevent a complete resolution regardless of the terms of the court's order for visitation. In such cases, the parties may wish to consider supervised visitation.
A divorce can trigger ugly emotions for one or both spouses, especially if young children are involved. In some divorce cases in Sacramento County, one or both spouses will accuse the other of being an "unfit" parent. On some occasions, this accusation is merely the product of one spouse's anger toward the other spouse. On others, it is an attempt to injure the other spouse by preventing access to the children. And, on some occasions, the accusations are true. What happens then?
One the most vexatious post-divorce issues is enforcing an order for child support when one or both of the divorced parents has moved to another state. Fortunately for California residents facing this problem, the state has enacted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), a law that significantly eases the problems of enforcing a support order in another jurisdiction that has adopted the same law. The law was adopted by California and the other 49 states in response to passage of an amendment to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.
Of all the issues and disagreements that may arise in a divorce, child custody probably generates more emotional distress than alimony, property division and child support combined. Some divorcing parents use custody of the children as a weapon, while some genuinely believe that the other parent is not fit to have any sort of custody of the children. Many divorcing parents do not understand the different kinds of custody that are allowed under our state's law.
A divorce is a devastating event in the world of a California family. While the parents must work through the complicated steps of separating their lives, their children must learn to live new lives that place their parents in different households. Because divorce can be hard on youths the courts and their parents are required to preserve the children's best interests when making decisions about their custody and care.
California judges have broad powers to resolve the many issues in a divorce. Refusal to obey an order establishing the parties' rights to child custody and visitation can result in a citation for contempt of court, a fine, and, in extreme cases, criminal charges. A recent child custody incident in Northern California demonstrates the sort of extreme behavior that can lead to unhappy results for all concerned.
When a Sacramento couple decides to end their marriage, providing for the welfare of their children is one of the most important issues they will face. Unfortunately, divorcing spouses often do not view the issues involved in their children's welfare in the same light. A jointly drafted parenting plan can be a very helpful tool in resolving disputes about child custody and visitation.
The emotional status of children is a crucial issue in many California divorces. If the mental health of a child is disputed by the parents or if the court has other reasons to inquire, the court may order a child custody evaluation. Judges use the evaluations to assist them in determining the "health, safety, welfare and best interest of children with regard to disputed child custody and visitation issues."
California law requires parents involved in a divorce to submit a jointly drafted parenting plan to the court. Working out a child custody and visitation plan can be an arduous task for one or both parents. Regardless of the effort invested by the parents, such a plan can be rendered useless if the custodial parent decides to move to another city or another state and take the children along. What happens then?
For divorcing couples with minor children, the "best interests of the child" is perhaps the most dominant concept in the entire divorce. California law makes child custody, child visitation and child support dependent upon how the best interests of the child will be affected by decisions resolving these issues. A single blog post is inadequate to fully analyze the tests used by California courts, but an overview may be helpful to those considering a divorce.