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Riverside Family Law Blog

Legal custody and how it could impact your parental rights

Child custody can be a complex issue, as both parents want to retain a strong relationship with their children after a divorce is final. Generally, family courts recognize the importance of allowing a child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. For this reason, joint custody or shared custody is now quite common.

As a California parent, you know the most important factor is ensuring the terms of your custody and visitation order protect the best interests of your child. You also likely have concerns over your parental rights, along with how you will maintain a strong role in the life of your child. One of the issues you may need to understand is legal custody and how it could impact you.

Military divorce rate shows little change though marriages down

There is no truly accurate way to compare marriages and divorces in the military to those in civilian life. The overall divorce rate in the United States does not include data from several states, including California. However, just as in civilian life, the total numbers of marriages in the armed forces has declined slightly while the military divorce rate has remained relatively static.

According to the data compiled from Pentagon figures, the divorce rate for 2017 remained at about 3 percent across all branches of service. These statistics are collected and researched by the Defense Manpower Data Center. While that percentage rate has not fluctuated much over the past few years, there have been changes in at least one branch of service, and the divorce rate is higher for female service members.

Rudy Guiliani and third wife seeking divorce after 15 years

Those who rise to prominence in the public sector often live under the spotlight of public scrutiny. While a divorce filing in the life of an ordinary California resident will not typically make news, these decisions become news when it involves well-known politicians or celebrities. Recently, the media announced that the third wife of former mayor, Rudy Guiliani, has filed for a divorce after 15 years.

Judith Giuliani filed a contested divorce earlier this month. The former mayor confirmed the news by announcing that the couple had separated. He requested that the media respect the privacy of the couple and their children while they go through the process. He further refrained from placing blame and said that the fault lies with both parties.

Deputy accused of using family law for unlawful purposes

Some of the worst crimes are those that are perpetrated against innocent children, including any type of child abuse. However, false accusations of abusing a child can be just as horrible, since it is often difficult to restore one's reputation. Recently, one California father was facing such charges in family law court based on a false report filed by a deputy.

This case is now a civil matter filed against Santa Clara County and the deputy who allegedly filed the false reports. It stems from an earlier incident that occurred last year. According to the suit, a young couple, who are parents of a 6-year-old child, were caught up in a dispute while on a family member's property. The grandfather called police after the mother reportedly attempted to hit him with a vehicle. At some point after deputies arrived on the scene, it is alleged that one of the deputies engaged in inappropriate behavior toward the mother.

Community urged to be aware of signs of domestic violence

Tragically, the news media frequently features a story that portrays the violent end of an abusive relationship. After another such deadly incident in California, community members were urged to become educated about the possible signs of domestic violence. There are several indicators that friends and family should be aware of that may encourage a victim to choose to seek help.

There are different types of abusive relationships. Not every victim has to be physically beaten in order to be considered abused. One woman who works for an outreach clinic stressed that having a strong support system can make a difference in the lives of potential victims. Being able to spot red flags and enabling a victim to talk openly about his or his situation may give him or her the encouragement he or she needs to leave an unsafe relationship.

Agency found to have violated family law in removing children

The vast majority of parents work diligently to ensure that their children are cared for and are protected. Unfortunately, not every child enjoys these basic rights and may need to be removed while parents work to correct poor behaviors or environmental conditions. There are laws that state how social workers are to conduct themselves in order to ensure that parental rights are not violated. California parents who believe their rights have not been protected may seek assistance from a family law attorney. 

The Department of Social Services in one county was recently found to have violated the rights of parents when removing possibly hundreds of children from their homes. The social workers were instructed to use an agreement referred to as a custody and visitation agreement (CVA). Parents were coerced into signing these agreements rather than having a judge issue an order granting county workers the authority to remove a child believed to be in an unsafe or unsanitary home. This issue recently came to light when one father prepared to fight to regain custody of his daughter. 

What are your options when divorce is not an option?

The end of a marriage is difficult. There are both financial and emotional challenges associated with ending an important relationship and extricating two lives, especially when it does not seem like divorce is an option. If divorce is not a possibility for you right now for any reason, there are still ways to formally separate and move on with your life.

Legal separation is an option for couples who either cannot or do not want to divorce at the time. This is a legal way to recognize the end of your relationship without walking through the formal process of a divorce. If you do decide to move forward with a divorce in the future, your separation agreement can serve as the foundation for your divorce order.

Settlement is final word on post-divorce interactions

The end of a marriage is often an equally draining and rewarding experience. After the dust has settled, however, interactions between former spouses often do not end, especially when there are children or other situations that require continued contact. California residents who have endured the divorce process may often rely on their settlement agreement to resolve future disputes.

A divorce decree does not automatically terminate a relationship -- especially for parents or business partners. During these required interactions, one party may extend courtesies or provide favors above and beyond those included in the dissolution agreement. There may be a tendency on the part of one party to suggest that the change in the relationship implies that the terms of the settlement are no longer enforceable or valid. This assertion can lead to conflicts between the former spouses. 

There is no perfect model when it comes to child custody plans

Back when divorces were less common, it was customary for mothers to be the primary caretakers when a marriage ended. That has been changing in recent years, as both parents and the courts are more open to child custody agreements that better meet the needs of children. Though California has its own laws concerning how custody can be decided, if parents can find a workable solution, then their children will likely benefit in the end.

For the majority of dads who were divorced, it was common for them to be allowed alternate weekends and one or two days a week to spend with their children. Researchers have determined, though, that young children especially, tend to do better when they are permitted more time with both parents. As a result of the growing awareness by parents that their children's needs must be given priority, they are more willing to find creative solutions that allow both parents to play a more active role in the lives of their children.

There are several common misconceptions about domestic violence

The recent news concerning a top White House official who allegedly engaged in abusive behavior towards his now-former wives shocked countless people. However, there are common misconceptions concerning domestic violence that need to be dispelled in order to help victims and break the cycle. There may be numerous California residents who are currently suffering some form of abuse who are in need of assistance and guidance to protect themselves.

One of the first misconceptions concerning domestic abuse is that it is a strictly physical act. Sadly, there are many other types of abuse that controlling partners can use to keep a victim off balance. Many situations entail emotional, sexual, financial and mental abuse rather than physical beatings. In addition, men are also abuse victims, though they are often overlooked by the agencies and laws established to protect all victims.

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