Attorney C. Chan, Esq. Affordable Family Law,Strategy-Driven, 4.7/5 Ratings! Free Consultation, Butte county Family Law Attorney C. Chan 530.359-8810

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Your Child Wants to Live with the Other Parent?

It's common to find that children will want to live with the "other" parent in many cases.

Sometimes it's for valid reasons, but not always.  The California code does address this and even states an age, apparently believing that by that age the child has enough reasoning power to make the decision; but the child's decision is subject to the court confirming it. Meaning, it may not happen.



Parental alienation is fairly common in cases, often (in attorney's experience) it's the mother doing it, but not always. Sometimes a parent with narcissistic tendencies may tend to do this, see
https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder for information on this problem generally. The afflicted parent will continue to push the fact that the child must stay with him/her even when lacking a factual basis. Attorney has seen many cases where the parents actually share custody but fight about everything anyway. Usually that is due to a build up of resentment in the relationship for varying reasons, and the parents never (and I mean never) resolve their own issues.  Instead, they carry the resentment forward, which is not helpful.


California Family Code Section 3042 (a)-(d) states:


      (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation


(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 765 of the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of a child witness so as to protect the best interests of the child.
(c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child’s best interests. In that case, the court shall state
its reasons for that finding on the record.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court regarding custody or visitation, if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child’s best interests
When a Court evaluates a child's choice regarding custody and visitation, the Court must listen to a child age 14 and older, UNLESS the Court determines it is not in the child's best interest do so? [When child is less than 14, the Court must first decide whether it is in the child's best interest to listen to the child..]
Courts can certainly listen to the preference of the 14+yr old child, but isn't required to cut off visitation even if the child requests it. Also, non sincere efforts by parents to do so are often seen, but not necessarily granted. Using mediation, or appointment of a custody evaluator or investigator may be required if issues of parental alienation or emotional or psychological abuse are present.  Other professionals may recommend differently if the parties have made a lifetime of being in court; in the worst cases, the children can even be placed in neither parent's care.
Custody is one of the most highly fought-over issues in many divorce cases. They can also be the most expensive. Attorney herein has found that many of the hard-fought custody cases really should have never been needed.
But parents sometimes find that emotional scars to one parent will cause that parent to become the "enemy" and then the battle doesn't stop. Unless the actual facts support harm to the child, it is often the attorney that has the better common sense argument who will win out. As for the child, he/she might get lucky.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Attorney C. Chan = The Fixer of Bad Cases!

Attorney has seen many, many cases that never had to get to the point that they are at--IF at least one client had changed some key methods.
 But it is to be expected that clients can't always fix their cases since they are wound up in the turmoil... right?


From attorney's outside view....fixing most cases is possible. It may not be fast. But it is likely doable over time.
Also attorney finds that clients must sometimes modify their own actions and that of the kids as well.

Apparently attorney herein is not alone when realizing that the FIXER name is known even by other attorneys, for example.... attorney just saw this online, and it is exactly the view of attorney herein........ at https://njfamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/2018/10/articles/general-new-jersey-family-law-news-updates/when-you-cant-find-a-better-man-five-tips-to-consider-when-preparing-for-divorce/

  1. Find the right “Fixer”:  The divorce process can be beyond overwhelming for countless reasons.  When searching for a divorce attorney, consider not just looking for someone who is experienced in family law. 
  2. Consider retaining an attorney who you feel comfortable talking to.  Who you can trust.  Who you can confide in and discuss certain aspects of your life and your marriage that you may not ordinarily feel comfortable speaking about with anyone else.  Who is responsive and reliable.  
  3. Who can ultimately advocate for you in the way that you believe best serves your interests and those of your children.  Who will listen to you and be mindful of what you are looking to achieve.

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There is no point to keep doing the same mistakes over 
and over and expecting a different result?

Therefore if the thing that needs changing just happens to be under your authority, then that's likely where the change needs to be made.  Judges get tried of hearing the same old stuff every day in court.  Pretty soon they are on auto pilot and send everyone to required "mediation."
  But mediation doesn't change people.  

BE VERY VERY AWARE: MEDIATION IS A PROCESS -- 
BUT IT IS NOT NECESSARILY A SOLUTION IN MANY CASES. THERE ARE MANY DIFFICULT SITUATIONS THAT WE HAVE SEEN, WHICH SIMPLY CANNOT BE "MEDIATED" AWAY FOR A RESULT.

         A judge should not be allowing a defendant who is under Criminal Protective                            Order, with prison history, heavy drug use, unauthorized hiding of kids  (after obtaining an intent to withhold for 3 months?) . ... to have custody of kids that one parent has abused...but that is what we have seen?

Change cannot take place unless someone or something makes a change--it likely won't happen by itself. So in mediation, judges just read what the mediators have written down. When and if the clients don't follow what they are to do, we see repeated issues over and over and over.  Clearly the parties MUST implement some change somewhere.

So the biggest problems are usually that all of the parties:
1.  Don't want to change their behavior, or do not know how;
2.  Don't want to jump through hoops
3.  Don't want to have to do anything that is inconvenient
4.  Don't want anyone telling them what to do.




Note---if you read the above words in the black box, and take offense to it, please stop reading
now, because attorney would not be able to help you. The reason is, attorney is highly realistic and will not sugar coat facts, particularly where that would end up making the case worse.
         Adults must learn that to be treated as an adult, we need to stand up for ourselves. It's one's own job to do that. IF you cannot do that, it is likely attorney will not be able to MAKE you do it; attorney can only give advice, NOT make anyone take or follow it. In fact failure to stand up for yourself may have contributed to your position currently--but if true, and you are trying to improve, then I salute you for trying. It's a start and it's better than doing nothing!
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It's pretty simple that if your other spouse or live in, is a difficult personality, takes meds for behavioral issues, or has been diagnosed with A B or C,  your case will take more work. Not every child should be raised primarily with a parent that has NO parenting skills at all.

But sometimes we have to make the best out of a bad situation. And sometimes that may mean we will be required to jump through a few hoops also.
     For most parents, this is doable. For some parents that have mental issues/or blocks, they will refuse to do whatever it is.  In those cases, the parent that won't comply will inevitably suffer in the long run. Because it isn't about you so much, as whether your behavior will or will not affect the kid or kids to a large degree.

As an example, a couple with kids  where one parent has serious issues and is not suitable as the
primary parent, will continue to battle the other parent for years in trying to keep his/her domain over the kids.

Obviously this person should not be primary custodial nor should he/she even have the kids overnight--that's when we start to have some really large damage with the kids... and to prevent that from being a vicious circle, someone has to step in.

Minor's counsel is NOT always the answer, and attorney has seen that minor's counsel is often given cases that will not change. Reason being, not all parents should be using "co-parenting".

Attorney has seen some pretty bad cases and co-parenting simply doesn't work well in really bad cases.  If you have that situation, call attorney--she may be able to restructure your case.


Examples of bad cases:
The father had apparently used inappropriate sexual conduct with minor female kids, kids taken to SCAN clinic in Sacramento, verifying abuse; father ended up with no contact, case was in the newspaper (all data changed for privacy) Father was forcing kids to watch sex videos with him...

                                   Mother was a drug user but able to outfox drug testing; father installed
hidden camera and was able to gain proof, leading to father obtaining the kids legally.

                                   Mother absconded with minor kids to another state; we hired a P.I. and locator to find location from cell phone data. Court ordered the Mother to return with child;
        in another case, Father hid minor children in Bay Area, changed their appearances. We obtained ex parte order for Father to return kids or be arrested. He returned the kids, Mother took back custody.

                                   Father believed Mother was allowed minor kids to be molested by either boyfriend or other male. Hired P.I. to assess Mother's whereabouts and meetups, determined which males were staying with Mother. Then had uninvolved trusted third party query kids and found out which person was the suspect. After this, the kids admitted it was happening. Mother lost custody.
                               
                                   Father was told by minor children, that the Mother was beating up the older child, a female, age 10. Attorney arranged to meet the Father/new wife and both minor children at the local Mc Donald's, (we did not tell the kids that attorney herein was an attorney)...in course of conversation, the 10yr old was quite lucid and revealed in fact that the Mother was abusing her and sometimes the younger brother. The sheriff and CPS were contacted; CPS later stated that in this case, the 10yr. old child was very bright and gave specific details about the abuse. The children were both placed with the Father -- and Mother never attempted to gain visitation (not even 5 years later!)

One of the worst things that can happen to unprepared clients is to ignore the fact that if they are not married, and fail to file a paternity action in court, the other party can simply take the kids and leave the city, county or country, without the other parent knowing. Obviously this is kidnapping on a different level--but it is easier to get kids back if there is already a paternity action filed, because usually the District Attorney (which has government ability) can use their authority to expedite the search, since the paternity filing typically asks extensive background questions as to the parents.  And if the parents had told the truth on the initial documents, the police authority and FBI have more data at hand.
                                  Worst case: this was not attorney's case--BUT--a Father married to a former citizen of a European country, had two sons with the wife. The wife later absconded with both children, and although it was known what country they went to initially, it cost so much money that eventually the Father had to give up. He has never found the kids. [It might be when the kids are adults they might locate the Father on their own..]

                                   Non custody case: Mother and Father owned several houses, upon separation they lived in the separate houses; the court in Butte never got the case to trial, despite the so-called "track" program that had a rule that each party must agree to a certain date; so when parties did not agree, the case went back on the "track." Unfortunately, that system was not really how legal cases should get to trial (there are actually rules)--so the Mother did not get to trial until 7 (yes seven) years after the divorce was filed.
 On the stand at trial, attorney herein caught the Father lying about his bankruptcy petition (we had a copy of it)--and that was when the Father's attorney called time out, and offered us a deal giving the Mother a large sum of cash to end the case. It was a glorious day!

#1NOTE: “Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Past Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result.” 

#2NOTE: IF you and/or spouse intend to file bankruptcy and you will be in the divorce at that time, you should FIRST  seek counsel from a bankruptcy attorney, as the timing of the filing can impact the divorce and it may be subject to the automatic stay !!~ Nearly all of the bankruptcy documents are filed online and normally you will need a PACER account to view online data. Attorney has done cases in Eastern District Federal Court+Bankruptcy Court (Sacramento), and  is licensed in the following CA federal courts (Eastern District, Southern District, and Northern District; and the State of Colorado Federal District Court.) Attorney is able to answer most questions re filing bankruptcy (which would likely be in Eastern District Court, Sacramento.)
                                     


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

If You are Concerned re the Online Sites aimed at Kids, COPPA-- Privacy Protection

 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (“COPPA Rule”).

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/rules/children%E2%80%99s-online-privacy-protection-rule-coppa/coppasurvey.pdf

Many parents don't have a clue what their kids are doing with their cellphones, and younger children would not know better regardless.

California has been actively trying to ensure that companies are not taking advantage of children, perhaps since most parents these days don't teach their kids how to tell time, write in cursive, or how to work a record player?  So many younger kids are simply left to play with cellphones or gadgets that get them online, and no one is checking to see what they are doing.


Parents should be diligent with all computer type products which can easily aim their actions at children.
There are plenty of programs that can squelch programs that are not fit for young children.

And just as a personal opinion, attorney would never advise to buy any product that might monitor your house and record what you are saying. That sounds highly dangerous especially if it's being done and you don't even realize it.
THESE DAYS, PEOPLE THINK NOTHING OF PUTTING UP
HIDDEN CAMERAS!
In fact, it sounds like the beginning of a bad DV (domestic violence) case!  Mini Spy Camera Wireless Hidden, Relohas HD 1080 Spy Hidden Camera Live Streaming, Small Security Camera with Night Vision Motion Activated Spy Cam Nanny Cam, Mini WiFi Camera for Home and Outdoor

Which gives rise to this data-- do your own research carefully!

https://legalbeagle.com/6708722-california-laws-video-surveillance.html

https://www.senteltechsecurity.com/blog/post/blog-9/#:~:text=The%20bottom%20line%20is%3A%20feel,is%20living%20on%20the%20premises).


Friday, May 15, 2020

Why Pay to Settle When You can Win?

Originally published March 2016 by attorney

https://buttecountyfamilylawlawyer.blogspot.com/2016/11/why-pay-to-settle-cases-when-you-can-win.html

In the above post from another blog site done in the past, I clearly explain how some cases get "settled" due to family pressure and a very unethical/mean spouse who simply took advantage of the other spouse. I personally will never, ever represent a client into doing that which was done in the specific case detailed, because it is inherently wrong, unfair, and not ethical in my opinion. I had the client fire me because I would not engage in a division which was in my opinion, basically illegal.

If you read the link, you will understand there is a HUGE, HUGE-- difference in the way attorneys handle their clients. I do not believe it is ethical to allow a client to engage in what was done (but the next attorney  was gung ho to settle the case with the poor client as the definitive loser overall financially? That won't happen on my watch.)


Any spouse making $27k/year while other spouse is at $80k a year, should not be bailing out of the marriage and taking nothing, especially when the $80k/year spouse had over $100k of debt accrued without the spouse even knowing about it? That forced the family into bankruptcy.  Attorney herein will definitely litigate on most issues and maybe even settle cases, BUT will not allow a client such as in this case, to lose almost everything, because it is inherently wrong. It's true, attorneys are allowed to let clients hang themselves if they choose to do so financially--but when this type of situation happens, attorney will not do anything of the sort. I will choose to be fired because I do not believe it is a good practice to allow clients on their own accord, while under huge pressure, to cave in and then regret it later.  And I am certain this client will regret it later.