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CUSTODY AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

When the situation in your life is very demented and reaches the point of custody dispute, you need moral support and the best legal advice. Matters such custody dispute can get very emotional and dirty too. Maligning each other to obtain custody of a child is a common practice done out of desperation. To avoid being a victim to such tension you must find an attorney that successfully defends your case and helps you keep your emotions in the right place. You must opt for an attorney that watches your interest and protects you from making wrong choices. Van Kinney specializes in Custody dispute. He is a lawyer that will carefully look into your case and help you get the custody of your child. His experience and professionalism will help your case to be presented in such a manner, that it will be decided soon. A prolonged case is highly detrimental for the child’s psychology and over all well-being. You don’t want your child to suffer and have bad memories for no fault of his own. You must also keep in consideration the trauma your child will go through upon such a dispute. It is always better to choose the best professional attorney to build a case that gets resolved soon. Van Kinney is a specialist in resolving such trivial matters. His experience and wisdom will ensure that no detail is missed in your case which will benefit you and your child in the courtroom.

Typically, the most emotionally charged aspect of a dissolution proceeding or a paternity action is child custody. In a custody dispute resolution process, one spouse may demand full legal and physical custody of the child over the objection of the other parent. When this occurs, a number of factors are relevant: the age of the child, the needs of the child, the ability of each parent to meet the child's needs, the financial ability of each parent to provide for the child and, lastly, the relationship and bond each parent has with the child. This issue may become highly contentious during a dissolution proceeding because, for power reasons or support reasons or control reasons, conflict occurs as to what is in the best interest of their child and to which parent the child will primarily reside with.

Custody has two elements, physical custody and legal custody.

In joint legal custody, both parents agree on decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare. Examples of mutual agreement include: school location, selection of doctors, church denomination, residence, and extracurricular activities. These issues are agreed upon before they put into place. Sole legal custody allows one parent to make unilateral decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of the child.

*Physical custody is the other element of custody, basically defining where the child lives. Physical custody can be in name only. For example, if you have a visitation plan that provides for the father having every other weekend, the label can still be joint legal, joint physical custody with visitation defined as follows: The definition of the visitation is what prevails as opposed to how it's labeled. The label of joint physical custody sometimes becomes more physiological than it is legally significant. An every other weekend dad or mother would prefer to be called a joint physical parent than one who is less adorned by the phrase part time parent.

**Physical custody is the other element of child custody, and it basically defines where the child lives. In some cases, physical custody may be in name only, and may be more psychologically significant than legally significant. For example, a visitation plan may provide for the father to have the child every other weekend, but the custody can still be labeled as joint physical custody. The definition of visitation is what prevails, as opposed to how it is labeled. An every other weekend dad or mom might prefer to be called a joint physical parent, rather than a part-time parent.

California has moved into a language of "primary care parent vs. secondary care parent", which is basically an extension of the general term, "physical custody." Primarily, the best interest of the child is defined as having both parents equally involved in the rearing of the child. It becomes the burden of the parent seeking more physical time with the child to establish a reason for the additional time. Examples of such reasons are: work schedules, alcohol and/or drug abuse, arrest history or domestic violence. If a parent is found guilty of domestic violence, as defined in Family Code 3044, he/she is presumed to be unfit and incapable of ever being a primary care parent. This is a significant issue in domestic violence-related cases and domestic violence restraining orders.

The essence of legal physical custody is what is in the best interest of the child. To request sole legal custody, one parent must establish that there is a "best interest of the children" component in that request. Anger and emotion between the two parents should be completely irrelevant to the issue of physical and legal custody.

The process of custody dispute resolution typically begins with a dissolution proceeding when a petition is filed. This petition is a jurisdictional document, not a dispositional document. An additional document is filed with it entitled, "A Request For Order".

In a request for order, either parent or litigant can ask for specific relief of support; child support, spousal support, custody, restraining orders, property control, and attorney fees. In a request for order regarding custody and visitation, a parent will outline a parenting plan in his/her application.

The parent must be very specific as to what order they desire and the reasons for them. This document goes to court 16 days after being served on the other spouse. The other spouse must then respond with a parenting plan that he/she thinks is in the best interest of the child. If there is a dispute, both parents must go through family court services mediation. Mediators are family court services counselors who meet with the parents and discuss each parent's plan. These counselors work for the court as advocates for the children. They do not represent either parent. The counselor's objective is, after consideration of each parent's plan, to make recommendations regarding a parenting plan that will best serve the needs of the child. This recommendation is considered evidence when determining the overall parenting plan. If the parents are in agreement, the mediator will submit a report that will, generally, result in a parenting plan order.

Either parent can object to the mediator's recommendation and request a trial. At trial, the objecting parent may introduce evidence that the mediator is mistaken in his/her assumptions and recommendations.