FLASH!! The worm turns again; only this time, it’s a Grandpa Worm!
Have I got your attention? A number of times in this series of articles, it has been mentioned that something can happen in our legal system and Laws, that simply changes everything. It could be something the Legislature passes; or it could be a new interpretation of a prevailing law by a Supreme Court, or one of any number of our Federal and State Appellate Courts. Think of the “Emancipation Proclamation” and the “Civil Rights Act.” How about “Miranda vs. Arizona” or “Roe vs. Wade”. Continue reading There’s More To Grandparents’ Rights Than Meets The Eye
The Importance Of a “Parenting Plan”
If a Court should encounter a Dissolution of Marriage Petition involving Minor Children, the Law would prefer that the Parties could be willing and
able to fashion and agree upon a “Parenting Plan” that would enable a sharing of the custody and care of the kids, and on an equal and cooperative basis. However, it is often seen that such an arrangement will not be easily achieved, unless the parents would otherwise be willing to work together to an extraordinary degree, in order to facilitate such a committed arrangement. What is ironic, is that if the parents would be willing and able to so easily “get along,” they probably wouldn’t be splitting up in the first place. It is also generally seen, that the chances that a successful Parenting Plan will endure, will be the greatest, as long as the separated couple is living in the same general area, and where the kids have the same social routine and are going to the same schools, and where they can otherwise be exchanged with relative ease.
On the other hand, what if one of the parents wants to move away?
Continue reading This One’s For The Children
The Best Interests Of The Children
In these days, when our courts and legislatures seem to be taking the view that the Dissolution of a Marital Relationship in California should be no
more than “just a business deal,” things will be found to be quite different when it comes to children of a failed relationship. This change of attitude will pertain regardless of whether there has been a valid marriage, an adoption, or whatever other circumstances would find minor children to be under the care, custody and control of persons, who will be separating from each other, after having lived in a relationship with the children.
The difference in attitude can be summarized by the fact that the Law will require the courts to always act first and foremost in the “best interests” of minor children, when making orders regarding their health, safety and welfare. Where the attitudes, when it comes to division of assets and liabilities, will appear at times to be without care or sympathy, that will all change when a court will decide in detail where and with whom a child will be at any given time of the day and night; as well as how and by whom such a child will be kept healthy, monetarily supported and educated. Continue reading King Solomon Said ‘Cut ’em in Half!’ The Court Says Otherwise
Can’t Wait. I have bills to pay and no way to pay them!
A circumstance that would be of particular concern for a Family Law Court, would be one where one party in a domestic relationship simply abandons the other. That circumstance would be of even greater concern, if there would be minor children at home, and under the full time care of the abandoned party of the relationship.
One would also expect, in the light of these circumstances, that the abandoned party (most often the mother of the children), as well as the children in her full time care, would be without sufficient support to maintain their health, safety and welfare. In the light of all of these circumstances, a Court should be expected to be amenable to an immediate and emergency approach, to secure adequate support for food, clothing, shelter, transportation and any medical care that should be needed to meet the needs of the children. Continue reading He Left Without Saying Goodbye! Now What Do I Do?
Parental responsibility may extend way beyond the test tube for donors.
I got a frantic call the other day, from a person who was told by a friend, that he could be liable for child support, if he were to donate his sperm to a childless couple. Now, I get some real interesting questions in my line of work; but that one just sounds strange; because a Kansas Court has just recently ruled, that a guy who answered a solicitation posted on Craigslist, by a lesbian couple, for a sperm donation, so the couple could start a family, has now been ordered to pay child support.
This case was just decided in the Trial Court, so it will probably be appealed for some time; it is just a ruling by one State Court; but it makes sense, if you think about it. The Court ruled that the sperm donor, and even though he had a contract with the couple that his connection and responsibility would end when his sperm was given for an artificial insemination, was nevertheless the actual biological parent of the child, in that the child received 50 percent of its genetic make-up from the donor.
The facts included, that the couple that solicited the donation, had split-up; and when the birth mother sought welfare from the State of Kansas, the State sought reimbursement from the biological parents; and a subsequent investigation revealed the Craigslist donor. It’s ironic, that the other member of the gay relationship, who was not the biological mother, who gave birth to the child, was cut-out of the deal, as not being legally related. She’s also appealing; as well as the donor, who would like to be off-the-hook. The court’s decision would concentrate on the best interest of the child in a case like this, and not those of the the gay couple —- or the donor, for that matter.
What about here in California?
It would be interesting to see what would be California’s attitude to such a set of facts. I’ll have to look into that one; but California has recently decided that a child can have three responsible parents —– but that’s another article.
It might be a surprise, but in California, grandparents have no rights with regard to custody and visitation with their grandchildren. The law concerning custody and visitation, as well as child support, is meticulously developed, highly technical, and even clinical, when it comes to parental custody with minor children; and usually within the context of the dissolution of the marriage of their parents.
Absent an agreement between estranged parents, a court would be required to determine the Best Interests of minor children, for the purpose of ensuring frequent and continuing contact between them and their parents; and in order to fashion a Parenting Plan that would ensure that result. Such a plan might well have to include a detailed schedule with regard to who would be transporting children at any given time, and where exchanges of actual physical custody would occur.
However, when it comes to the grandchildren, there is no highly developed law; and in fact, there really isn’t any statutory law, whatsoever. Whether children will be allowed time with their grandparents, is entirely left to the parents.
As a practical matter, when a child is with a particular parent, that parent would normally have the power to determine to whom else the children might be exposed; and courts would not get involved, unless it could be shown, that a particular person or circumstance would be adverse to the Best Interests of a particular child.
Now there is a possible exception; but it would most likely require a knowledgeable attorney, and some expense: if a grandparent could convincingly show to a court, that it would be adverse to the best interests of a grandchild, to be deprived of contact with his or her grandparent, a judge might well order the contact. However, that would be a rare occurrence.
Do you have questions about family law or custody conditions? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Someone is always here to help.
Law Offices of William R. Lively and Associates
23300 Cinema Drive, Suite 2910
Valencia, CA 91355
PHONE: (661) 287-3600
FAX: (661) 287-3605
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