Many people in Orange County recognize that domestic violence is an ongoing problem for many California families. Although, the problem often is kept as a carefully guarded family secret, victims should never feel that they have to put up with physical violence and abuse. In fact, during this month dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence, it may be encouraging to review some of the legal options victims have when it comes to custody and parenting time.
Many times, standard child custody advice that even attorneys like to give to Orange County parents might not be workable in a parent's particular situation. Probably the best example of this is when one of the parents has committed an act of domestic violence against the other parent, as the standard child custody advice that parents should try to get along and have roughly equal time simply cannot be safely applied when one of the parents is abusive.
Previous posts on this California blog talked about a parenting plan and how couples who are not living together may need one both to keep their own lives running smoothly and to provide for the emotional and even physical needs of their children. While this is especially important when parents are not getting along and need some clear and detail rules by which to abide, a parenting plan is still a good idea, even when the couple that is splitting is generally able to work things out with respect to their kids.
There's no question that life in general can be tough for kids to cope with, especially when they are in the midst of a child custody dispute between their parents. A child who has witnessed or a divorce or who has just had to learn that their parents are going to live apart from each other permanently may need some help from a mental health professional to cope with these issues.
Despite the warnings about how important it is for parents to get along with each other when it comes to parenting time, for many reasons, sometimes this is a challenge for Orange County, California, couples.
As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, one option for resolving a child custody dispute is for the parents to go to mediation. Basically, a mediator will work with each parent and others in order to help the parents come to some resolution with respect to their custody and parenting time disputes.
This blog has mentioned the concept of joint custody before, but it may be helpful for Orange County parents to have a refresher on exactly what "joint custody" means, as the term can sometimes be used in different ways. A true joint custody arrangement implies that parents will split the time they have with their children 50-50 insofar as possible. A perfectly even split may not, however, be practical due to parents' work schedules and other reasons.
Despite the fact that many California residents recognize the benefits of having both parents involved in their children's lives, in many cases, this is unfortunately not the best child custody option for families. For instance, in some cases, abuse between the parents or even between parent and child may make unrestricted visits a terrible idea for lots of reasons. In other cases, even if a parent is not abusive, things like drug use, untreated mental illnesses, absence or other factors may make parenting time a challenge that must be addressed with the utmost care and concern for the feelings and well-being of the children involved.
A child custody decision is one of the most important and difficult decisions that an Orange County, California, court can make. After all, usually both parents of the child are "good" parents who love their kids very much, but need a judge to resolve the disagreements between them.
A previous post on this blog discussed how, in the vast majority of case, law enforcement authorities are not going to be able to help a parent who is in the midst of an ugly child custody or parenting dispute and who now needs legal help just to be able to see their child when they are supposed to.