Focusing On Family Law – And You
Child custody disputes can be the most difficult part of a California divorce. It is not uncommon for both parents to want to have custody of the child and, once a custody determination is made, seek as much parenting time as possible. Even in cases where the sides are on reasonably good terms, disputes crop up without warning over the child.
No matter the personal feelings between the parents, it is useful to understand the basics about child custody. That includes the simplicity of having a custody order that clearly states how the child is shared between the parents. This is particularly important when there is a chance a parent will refuse to adhere to the order.
Failure to follow an order is the foundation for custody disputes
Even if parents enter the agreement willingly and with the intention of following it, problems can arise. If they escalate and the parents are no longer following the custody and parenting time order, it can lead to a return to court, attempts to enforce or change the order and a rise of tension and cost.
A well-detailed order can make sure that the parents know exactly how the custody and parenting time arrangement is meant to go. It keeps misunderstandings to a minimum, says what the parents are expected to do and makes enforcement easier.
For example, if a non-custodial parent expects to have the child at a specific time and is waiting for the drop off, but the custodial parent does not arrive or refuses to adhere to the order, the documented parenting plan can show what was supposed to have occurred. Violations will be recorded and can be used to either ensure the order is followed in the future or to justify changes.
There are options when the order is not followed and the parents cannot discuss it and come to a workable solution. That includes calling law enforcement or the district attorney; trying to hold the other parent in contempt of court; or modifying the order entirely.
Parents should go through the proper legal channels
A frequent mistake parents make when there is a custody dispute is to take matters into their own hands, ignore the order and worry about the consequences later. This is generally a mistake. Having a clear and outlined custody arrangement can ease the process.