2015: In San Diego, What are Some of the Best Procedures to Resolve Your Custody and Visitation Dispute?
It does not matter whether you were married [such as in a divorce or legal separation] or never married [such as in a paternity] as to the law which applies to visitation and custody of your children or child. The legal standard is best interests which has many components however some of the most essential are health, education and welfare which includes the following: bonding; stability; which parent is most likely to promote time with the other parent and safety among others. The best procedure is to try and reach an agreement as to the parenting plan with the other parent without going to court. This gives you control and certainty as to the outcome of the order and also allows you to make decisions which a Judge would otherwise make. This should be the first procedure. Templates for sample parenting plans are available on the interest for no cost and for cost. Make sure to include holidays and vacations and school and summer in the parenting plan. Parenting plans differ widely. Given the current state of the law in San Diego, the best interests are that the parents should share time equally. Since neither parent will be spending 100% of the time with their child, the goal is to insure the child has a relationship and maintains bonds with both parents. A sample joint parenting plan currently being used in San Diego is below and is known as a 2-2-5. This is where one parent has Monday and Tuesday and the other parent has Wednesday and Thursday and Friday/Saturday/Sunday rotate. This does not take into account holidays, vacations, off track time, birthdays of parents and/or children or three day weekends [to name a few] but is a template. If your strategy to settle by agreement does not work, then you will need to consider other strategies. Below are some resources which can help.WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES WHICH CAN HELP YOU?
If, after you have tried to reach an agreement but have not, the first resource is the San Diego Superior Court. By filing a motion for custody and visitation [Request For Order], you will obtain two court dates. The first court date is Family Court Services in which you and the other parent will meet with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is hired by the Superior Court of San Diego to meet with parents and try and get them to agree. The mediator can help you resolve your parenting disputes and reach an agreement if at all possible. If you cannot reach an agreement in mediation, then the Mediator [in San Diego County] writes a recommendation and this recommendation is given to both parents and to the Judge. The Judge will then make an order as to the parenting plan. Other resources include parenting facilitators who are not employees of the Court but can assist in resolving complicated visitation and custody issues. There are also, in a very small percentage of cases, where the Judge will appoint an attorney for the minor child or children. This would allow direct representation of the minor[s] and also allow you to speak with the minor’s attorney and this can be a good resource as well.HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM HELP?
If you have a complicated parenting plan issue or other issue in family law court, an experienced San Diego law firm can help. The firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can offer a free in-person or virtual consultation to discuss your individual case. The virtual consultation is completely confidential and also does not cost up to 30 minutes. Feel free to contact their office to set your consultation.