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Case illustrates difficulty of settling some child custody cases

When parents dissolve their relationships, one of the hardest decisions is deciding with whom their children should reside. Though California has laws that help guide courts in making these child custody rulings, every family is unique and requires an individual solution. Residents who are struggling to resolve these disputes can seek input from neutral third parties for assistance.

One recent case illustrates the problems that can occur when a court seeks to choose which arrangements will work. In this circumstance, the parents divorced when the child was approximately four years old. The court ruled that the mother, who had since moved out of state with the child, would have sole physical custody, and the father was granted visitation via Skype calls and periodic visits. Unfortunately, the mother denied contact between father and son.

After repeated attempts to have the mother comply with the court ordered visitation, the court finally resorted to issuing an arrest warrant. Custody was then awarded to the father. He then attempted to facilitate a relationship with the mother and child. She later appealed the decision of the court. After deliberating the child's living situation with the mother, it was determined that the relationship with a grandparent should be preserved, and the child was once again turned over to the care of his mother and grandfather.

The Vermont State Supreme Court intervened on the father's behalf, and the child was once again returned to his father. Though the state's supreme court ruled in favor of a parental relationship rather than extended relatives, the dissenting decision pointed out the intricacies of this case. Though the majority of California parents will not encounter such a complex case, every child custody arrangement requires finesse. A compassionate attorney can help determine the plan that best meets a family's needs.

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