What began as a seemingly routine surrogacy situation evolved into an international news story and a protracted court case, due to the emergence of some unique twists and turns in the case. Ultimately, the California courts rejected a surrogate’s efforts to be declared the legal parent of the triplets she delivered. The Second Appellate District Court concluded that the agreement the woman signed was legal and was entered into knowingly and voluntarily, meaning it was enforceable, and the surrogate was not entitled to parental rights.
As a parent, one of the chief objectives most people seek to accomplish is to protect their children, particularly their minor children. This is especially true when the threat posed involves an element of sexual overtones. That was the scenario allegedly faced by one Los Angeles County dad, with regard to whom the Second Appellate District indicated that the law allowed the father to take action, not only in family court but also in civil court in the form of a restraining order.
Sometimes, divorce cases are extremely contentious. Sometimes, a party will make extremely incendiary and potentially damaging allegations, even though the courts would later declare that “not one iota of proof” supported those claims. Even when facing unfounded claims, it is important to take them seriously, retain counsel, and contest them aggressively. If the courts conclude, as they did in the recent case of one California father, that your ex-spouse purposely prolonged the case and delayed resolution, you may be entitled to an order demanding that your ex-spouse pay some of your attorney’s fees.
In cases involving issues of child custody and visitation, parents may seek to introduce a wide array of relevant evidence to persuade the court of the correctness of their arguments. One thing a parent cannot do, however, is disclose information from her ex-spouse’s therapy that is protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege when the patient did not waive the privilege. In one Northern California case, a mother sought to do exactly that but lost because, regardless of relevance or the children’s best interests, the information was covered by the privilege and had not been waived.
A famous book and an accompanying menagerie of merchandise counsels us, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” In law, however, this isn’t always good advice. Sometimes, it’s the small stuff that makes all the difference between a successful outcome and an unsuccessful one. In a recent Southern California case, the Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling denying a mother’s request to move herself and her daughters from Bakersfield to the Los Angeles suburbs. The mom lost because none of the custody orders in her case had “the words ‘final,’ ‘permanent,’ or ‘judgment,’ or words to that effect.”
There are many things you have to consider when you decide that it is necessary to go to court regarding the custody of your child. Aside from the many factual elements that may go into your case, there are some very basic legal issues that could make or break your effort to get your case heard and decided in your favor. One such issue is jurisdiction because, if the court where you file your case doesn’t have it, the judge cannot give you the relief you’re seeking, no matter how strong the factual side of your case is. In one case originating from San Bernardino County, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a father could pursue custody in the California courts, since this state qualified as his child’s “home” state, and, as a result, the court here did have jurisdiction to rule on his petition.
When you go to court in a custody or visitation matter, there are a variety of options available to the judge in your case. As a recent ruling from the Second District Court of Appeal demonstrates, one component of your custody or visitation order may involve making drug screening a condition of custody or visitation if one of the parents has a history of drug or alcohol abuse. What’s more, the law covering this testing says that the court can make the parent continue getting tested for as long as the court deems appropriate.
Today, there are many different types of families. Whether they look like fictional families from cinema (such as Three Men and a Baby) or real-world situations involving gay and lesbian parents, there are a variety of circumstances in which someone who isn’t a biological or adoptive parent might be placed in the role of parenting a child. For people in these situations, which legal rights do they have regarding that child? A recent Sixth District Court of Appeal case tackled that question, ruling that a child could possibly have three legal parents, allowing an uncle who was essential the only father-figure his niece had ever known to continue his fight for parental recognition.
There are state laws applicable to every aspect of a family law case. The California Family Code governs actions for divorce, spousal support, child custody, and many of the attendant issues to be resolved. Courts interpret such laws in light of the facts and evidence presented in each case. For this reason alone, it is important to understand how these myriad legal provisions may affect your family’s rights now and in the future. An experienced family law lawyer from the local San Diego area would be able to guide you through the California divorce process as seamlessly as possible.
One of the highly regulated areas of family law concerns the physical and legal custody of children. Courts are guided by the following principle: which arrangement promotes the best interests of the child. Under the law, custody orders may be modified if the parent seeking the modification can show that there has been a “change in circumstances” sufficient to warrant the modification. In a recent custody case, the father lived in California, and the mother lived in Virginia. The court entered a permanent custody order giving the father (a Bay Area resident) physical custody of the child during the school year and the mother physical custody during the summer.
One of the lesser-known legal hurdles in a family law case concerns the appropriate jurisdiction within which to bring your claims. Whether it is an action for divorce, child custody, spousal support, or any other related matter, parties must ensure that the court has jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. In considering the question of jurisdiction, courts often look at whether one location is a more “convenient forum” than another. Before couples are able to address the substance of their family law case, they must establish the appropriate jurisdiction. In order to move your case along as efficiently as possible, it’s important to contact a local San Diego family law lawyer who would be able to quickly identify the most suitable court for your case.
Issues concerning the appropriate forum often arise when the parties live in two different states. Section 3427 of the California Family Code provides that a court that has jurisdiction to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum.