RECENTLY, I was asked if we here at Chua Tinsay & Vega, APLC handle divorce cases. Yes, we do! We handle divorce cases here in California, including Division of Community Assets and Debts, Child Custody, Child Support, Spousal Support, with special handling of issues relating to Military Divorces.
Divorce, especially in the beginning stages, is a highly emotional event in people’s lives. There are those who see “red” and want to “attack” in anger, and there are those who shut down and want to avoid the discussion altogether. For these reasons, I would strongly suggest seeking the help of a licensed therapist to help with coping mechanisms and how to move on. The job of the attorney, on the other hand, is to guide you through the details.
Let’s take child custody or co-parenting. Things you have not thought about before may and will come up. Here are some examples:
When one parent consistently refuses to notify the other parent of important dates or events.
Say one parent consistently refuses to notify the other of important medical appointments or extracurricular activities. The thing is, both parents should make note of these important dates and events. Because you have now chosen to live separate lives, then you must now live separate lives. If both parents are awarded legal custody, then both have a right to information regarding their children. But with this right comes the responsibility to, well, be a parent. Tell the school of the situation and put your name and your contact information down so you are included in the school mailer or emails from the teacher. As well, let the pediatrician (or other care providers) know of the situation and make sure you are on the call list or emergency contact list. Alternatively, if parents are unable to co-parent smoothly, a request can be made for the court give an order specifying a minimum time frame in which such information is to be provided.
When parent communication is cut off because of parenting time-share schedule.
Sometimes, because of the alternation of custodial time, the lower timeshare parent may have periods of time in which contact with the child is severed for days or even weeks at a time. I always ask my clients this question – Do we really need to go to court for this? As with anything, and even the courts will say so, if the parents are in mutual agreement then that is all for the better! Yet, there are those parents who simply cannot function with the black and white of a Court Order in which case, for this particular issue parties then need to make sure that there is an order providing for regular phone contacts for both parents. Some orders even specify the time of the call, and the manner (Skype, phone, Facetime).
When a Parent travels with child(ren) without notifying the other parent.
Things you didn’t think you had to worry about: hopping in the family car for a spontaneous trip with your children on a fine sunny summer day. Except that now, you are co-parenting and it’s an issue. Number one, know that you can’t do that anymore, at least without providing notice to the other parent as well as contact information during the trip.
It is now standard that custody orders include that parents provide a detailed itinerary, which should include regular contact information if the trip is long, or emergency contact information if the trip is short. It is important that both parents have knowledge of the whereabouts of the children, and both parents must always provide the other with their current contact information (phone number and address). Standard orders regarding vacation or trips with the child(ren) now typically require a minimum amount of advance notice to the other parent of a planned vacation, and in certain cases require written authorization of the other parent when appropriate (i.e., for out-of-state or out-of-the-country travel) depending on the specific needs of the individual case.
For those considering filing for Divorce or already in the thick of a long divorce battle, consider consulting with a family law attorney who can assist you in navigating through the details. And, particularly if there are minor children involved, it is important to keep an eye on the details and safeguard your and your children’s rights under California Family Laws.
* * *
Atty. Lilli Baculi Collins is an associate attorney with Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) – a full-service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; email@example.com; www.chuatinsayvega.com.