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Additional FAQ's on Child Custody in San Diego: 2012
Child custody laws differ from state to state and the Court's in San Diego follow the California Family Law Code and Local Rules for San Diego Superior Court. If you have a custody "battle on your hands" in San Diego it's wise to study the laws prevailing here and the way the courts interpret them. Here are a few questions commonly asked by San Diego parents on issues relating to child custody.
- When my ex started cheating on me he abandoned our kids as well. How will the Court view this?
The Court is not particularly concerned about your marital relationship and your ex will probably disagree with this statement or sentiment anyhow. What is of interest is the relationship your ex had with your children. If before the divorce your ex was actively involved in their lives, this will play a significant part in how the Court will make up its mind. It will certainly reward the relationship with shared custody or generous visitation rights absent any compelling reason to the contrary. The issue, however, of where the children have been living is a different matter. If, for example, the ex left over one year ago and the child have been living with you since that date, that may be an issue under the "best interests"analysis and stability. Infidelity is not a basis on which the San Diego Superior Court Judges make a custody determination and order.
- My ex is living with someone of the same sex. This is potentially harmful for my kids and I don't want them to be around my ex and his/her partner.
That unfortunately is your opinion, and the Court might not share your disapproval of same sex-relationships and its impact on your kids. The Court might consider it more harmful to deny your kids a continuing relationship with your ex, than for them to be exposed to your ex and partner. The test, again, is "best interests" and if the same sex partner does not pose a danger to the safety, health and welfare of your children, then the Judge may not consider this at all in a parenting plan.
- Can my ex renounce his child custody rights?
Your ex can agree to sole legal and sole physical custody but this is always modifiable under the law. The only exception would be a termination of parental rights. In San Diego County, the Judges do not terminate parental rights except in cases of step parent adoption or dependency cases in which foster placement and adoption may occur. In addition, these actions are brought in juvenile court and not family court. The policy of the San Diego Court is to have two parents and not one.
- Our child custody agreement is temporary, but my ex wants visitation time to be increased. I'm against it because I feel the children should become accustomed to the existing schedule. What can I do to keep it that way?
It would be best if you could talk this over with your ex and come to some agreement if the schedule changes. You could insist that any changes should come through you and not directly to the kids. And you can insist on a 24-hour notice of change. If you cannot agree, then a motion has to be filed to modify the temporary order.
- My ex's name is not on the birth certificate; even so he plans to file for child custody. Is this possible?
Unfortunately, yes. Even if the birth certificate does not list him as the father, he has every right to file for custody and/or visitation rights. This normally occurs in a paternity case. In many paternity cases, the father's name is listed on the birth certificate and/or a voluntary declaration of paternity is signed. If not, then the father can still file a complaint to establish a paternal relationship in the court of appropriate jurisdiction.
- I had agreed with my ex that the primary custody of the baby after birth would be mine. But he insists on regular visitation. Will a Court approve overnight visitation straight away?
If the agreement is in writing, it can be submitted to the Judge but the Judge is not bound by this. Many factors are associated with post birth visitation for the father. For example, if the mother is breast feeding during the day and evening, a Judge may not order overnight visits however may order shorter visits and more frequency for the first few months of the child's life. The goal of the Court is the best interests of the child and one of the factors is a bond with both parents and frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a San Diego law firm which represents parents in family law. This includes divorce, spousal support, separation agreements, and issues related to child custody and support. The firm's legal services cover most facets of the field. It offers a free in-person or virtual consultation of 30 minutes so you can have your case appraised.