Child Custody

One of the more common questions asked by individuals facing a separation involving children is whether or not the court will clearly hear whether a person’s child or children desires to be with one parent or the other. This has always been a difficult issue for everyone involved, but more so for children who get caught in the middle.

In order to deal with this delicate and potentially emotionally damaging situation, California updated Family Code §3042 to allow children 14-years-old and older to address the court concerning their preferences. However, it may not be in the child’s best interests to address a judge in open court. Placing a child in this situation can run contrary to the dictum of not putting a child in the middle of a custody dispute.

With the recent change of the Family Code, it will take time to determine how it will affect practices with relation to child custody and visitation. Each case is different, and in each set of circumstances there may be good and valid reasons why a child wishes to remain with one parent, as opposed to another. These reasons may include misconduct, substance abuse or domestic violence. Ultimately, the child could be put in the extremely difficult situation of testifying against a parent in relation to criminal acts. At California Divorce Mediators, we understand there is still some uncertainty surrounding the application of the Code changes, and we have stayed abreast, in a hands-on manner, as to the best ways to proceed in child custody disputes. We are able to fully advise you on your options and also offer you the alternative of mediation.

The last thing most parents want is to take their battle to a court, involve the children and then have to deal with a court ordered resolution that no one may be happy with. Mediation will assist both parties in arriving at a workable solution for everyone involved – especially the children.

If you are in a same-sex domestic partnership in Orange County or anywhere in California and facing dissolution, child custody, and property division questions, California Divorce Mediators can help you work out a mutually satisfactory mediated agreement. Child custody in same-sex relationships has been subjected to discrimination since the early 1960’s when same-sex parents were denied parental rights. However, in 1967 a California Court of Appeals reprimanded a trial court for ruling a lesbian mother was presumed to be unfit. From that point on, California strove to adopt an evidence-based, child focused approach in custody cases.

Nonetheless, in some instances, a same-sex couple may still feel they are being discriminated against by the courts. In order to avoid any controversy that would affect the children of a same-sex union in the process of dissolution, many seek an alternative process to resolve their situation. Mediation is such a process. California Divorce Mediators stands ready to help you.

Contact us by email or phone, to discuss mediation, legal separation, same sex separation, domestic partnerships, child custody or dissolution. Mediation may be a viable and reasonably priced alternative to costly litigation.