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Los Angeles Area Law Blog

The importance of the parenting calendar to your kids

If you're a divorced parent sharing custody of your kids, you know that your parenting schedule can change with the seasons, and maybe even more frequently. Moving to a summer schedule and then back to a school year schedule can be difficult for children -- particularly younger ones.

Children of divorced parents need as much consistency and predictability as possible. They want to know whose house they'll be in and who will be taking them to or picking them up from school and other activities. If their parents' breakup is still recent, they may have anxiety that their parents will forget about them.

Every parenting agreement needs a conflict resolution plan

Your parenting plan needs to include a way for you and your co-parent to resolve disputes. If you haven't agreed in advance to a methodology for conflict resolution, it could end up causing very big problems later on down the road. What kind of problems? Long, drawn-out and costly family law proceedings.

No matter how well you and our co-parent get along right now, there's probably a reason why the two of you are incompatible as romantic partners, and this incompatibility could rise up later in the form of a heated disagreement regarding how your child should be raised. To avoid the possibility of a stressful and expensive legal disagreement, parents can include the following provisions that pertain to conflict resolution within their parenting plans:

Establishing paternity for unmarried fathers in California

More couples than ever before are choosing to co-habitate and even have children without actually getting married. There are many reasons why people have started to shift their relationships in this way. Children from divorced homes grow up more skeptical about the institution of marriage. Other people may simply feel like it is unlikely for them to stay with the same person for their entire life.

If you have children with someone and you are not married, regardless of the reason why, when you split up you will have to think about how to secure your rights with the children. In the state of California, unmarried fathers have the right to establish paternity.

Leaked court order provides look into Jolie-Pitt custody battle

Almost two years after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie broke up, the two are still sparring over custody of their six children. Although the superstar couple has sought to keep their divorce out of the media, a court order issued this month has made its way into the hands of CNN. It provides some insight into the couple's legal battle.

The court order includes a summer custody schedule in which Jolie will have primary physical custody of the children in London, where she is filming Maleficent 2. However, Pitt, who is living in Los Angeles, has shared custody of the kids -- all of whom are under 17. He is also allowed to speak with them by phone with no restrictions.

Do divorced parents have a better approach to quality time?

Sometimes, parents find it hard to focus on quality time with their children when life is so demanding. Instead of really connecting with your kids, you're just trying to get them to follow rules and clean up their rooms. You're picking up after them. You're making dinner and putting them to bed, then telling them to get back in bed. Parenting turns into nothing but an obligation, with parents just going through the motions of rearing their children.

Parenting experts note that parents often look back on these chaotic years with young kids fondly. They wish they could have lasted longer. They wish they had focused more on quality time.

What should your parenting plan cover?

A thorough parenting plan can be a great tool as you and your soon-to-be ex move to parenting your children separately. A good parenting plan can help ensure that the two of you are on the same page regarding how your kids will be raised. It can also minimize conflicts and misunderstandings that are stressful on kids.

Each plan is unique, based on the children's ages and needs. However, following are a few basic things that your plan should address.

How to budget the child support you receive

You've reached a child support agreement with your ex. That's just the beginning. Now you have to focus on spending the money wisely as the primary caregiver for your children. If you're fortunate, your co-parent will pay the support on time and in full every month.

First, create a budget. This is necessary for all people who divorce, whether they have children or receive any type of support or not. Living as a single person is simply more expensive per person than living as part of a married couple. Designate how much money you'll be spending on taking care of your children. This includes clothing, medical expenses, school costs, piano lessons, soccer uniforms and child care.

Determining child custody for unmarried California parents

When couples who have had one or more children together but never married split up, child custody needs to be determined just as it would for parents who are divorcing. Under California law, custody determinations are made using the same considerations whether the parents are married or unmarried.

However, if the parents weren't living together, determining custody "can be complicated for logistical reasons," according to one Los Angeles attorney. The parent who wasn't living in the home with the child may have to make significant changes to his or her own home to accommodate a child. That parent may also have a lot to learn about caring for the child's daily needs.

Who gets the kids over the holidays?

We love holidays in America. Of course, Christmas is the big one, with most children even getting a week or two off from school. The celebration runs all the way to New Year's Day.

But it's not just winter. Summer has the Fourth of July, falls gets Thanksgiving and spring has Memorial Day. The summer ends with Labor Day, and kids get to take their own school vacation for months, all summer long.

Tips for documenting domestic violence

Domestic violence is central to your divorce case. You do not think you are safe in the home. You do not think the children are. You want to end the relationship and get out as quickly as possible.

In today's world, you're not worried about proving that you deserve the divorce. California uses no fault divorce laws.

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