In a widely publicized murder case, two women and one man are accused of killing the wife of a Marine. One of the accused women was pregnant at the time of her arrest and later gave birth to a daughter while in jail. In addition to defending herself against accusations of murder, she is also now fighting a child custody battle over who will take care of her baby daughter. As we can see in this case, the circumstances surrounding child custody disputes can vary a great deal. One of the most important steps to take, in any child custody matter, is for parents to consult with an experienced family law attorney in the San Diego area, who can actively protect their rights and interests.
One of the problems in this case is that both parents are currently in jail, and neither of them can predict how the case will turn out. When the baby was born, the father (who is also one of the accused murderers), asked the mother to place the child in the care of a woman they knew. The woman with custody brought the baby to the jail for weekly visits. However, shortly after the baby was born, the caretaker broke her promise to live in the San Diego area, and moved to Central California with the baby. Records maintained by the jail indicate that visits decreased significantly after the woman took custody of the child.
Just last month, a Fresno Family Court denied the mother’s request to remove the child from the woman’s care and instead place her with the mother’s sister in South Carolina. The mother further claimed that authorities at the jail failed to tell her about the family court hearing and, she was not permitted to participate in the proceedings by telephone. The mother is representing herself in the case and has appealed the court’s decision.
In most child custody disputes, the parents are concerned about spending the most time possible with their child, which often leads to heated, emotional battles (here of course, the dispute is an entirely different matter altogether). In order to establish a child custody and visitation arrangement, one parent must request an order from the court. Once this has been done, either the parents can agree to a parenting plan (custody and visitation arrangement), or the judge will issue an order. Keep in mind that a trained mediator may be able to help parents to resolve custody and visitation issues in mediation. If the session results in the parties reaching an agreement, the mediator may also help draft an agreement that the judge will sign, establishing it as a court order. When parents cannot reach an agreement in mediation, the judge will render a decision in the case.
In many cases, child custody battles have the potential to waste the parents’ resources and drain them emotionally and physically. Hiring the right family law attorney can make all the difference. An experienced attorney can ably protect your rights, identify the key issues, and move the case along through the local family court with ease and confidence.
Parents with questions about child custody matters are encouraged to contact Doppelt & Forney. Mr. Doppelt is a knowledgeable family law attorney with more than 20 years of experience representing parents in Southern California. Doppelt & Forney serves clients in Linda Vista, Encinitas, Scripps Ranch, San Diego, and throughout Southern California. For a consultation with a dedicated family lawyer, contact Doppelt & Forney through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
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