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What Parents Need to Understand About Full Physical Custody

Posted by Tashfeen Haq on June 3, 2012 at 4:30 PM

During a child custody case, often parents think "full physical custody" means that the child with stay with a parent full time. Also, often parents think if both parents have "joint physical" custody, then both parents will have "equal" amount of "time".

This is not always true!

A parent can have full physical custody, but the other parent can have various amount of visitation rights (from a lot to very little). If a parent is asking for full physical custody, and gets it, but the other parents has the child overnights during weekdays, did the parent with full physical custody get what he/she wanted? Unless the parent with full physical custody actually got what he or she wanted, the answer is "no".

"Full physical" custody does not necessarily mean that the child will be with a parent  full time. That's why parents generally should not focus on the words "full custody".

Instead, parents should focus on how much "timeshare" they can have with the child. For example, one parent can have full physical custody, but if the other parent gets two or three overnight visitaiton during the week with the child, or gets the child one week on, one week off, then the timeshare works out to be equal or almost equal.

However, parents SHOULD ask for full physical custody if the other parent has done something that makes his or her parenting skills questionable. For example, if the other parent has:

1) domestic violence record or the domestic violence occurred in the presence of the children, or

2) has recent criminal record or DUI record, or

3) has drug or alcohol abuse problems, or

4) has a mental condition (e.g. severe bipolar disorder), or

5) has a history of child abuse, child neglect, or child molestation, or

6) anger management issues, PTSD,

then definitely the other parents MUST ask for FULL PHYSICAL custody.

But without any or some of these criterias, most of the time both parents will end up getting joint phsyical custody. Thus, parents should focus on what amount of "time" (i.e. timeshare) they will get, and not necessarily about whether they have "full physical" custody.

Parents should also focus on preparing for CHILD CUSTODY MEDIATION (read our blog about "what not to do in mediation")


What NOT To Do In Child Custody Mediation

Posted by Tashfeen Haq on June 1, 2012 at 3:00 AM

In California family law courts, all child custody cases must go through a mediation process where a court appointed, neutral third party will sit down with the parents and listen to the parents' concerns and parenting plan proposals, and thereafter, will prepare a recommendation that the mediator thinks is in the best interest of the child and submit that to the judge as well as the parents for their review before their child custody hearing.

During mediation, you should NOT:

1) Discuss child support;

2) Use your child as a bargaining tool to get something else;

3) Get angry or interrupt the other parent;

4) Go unprepared without a child custody and visitation plan or proposal;

5) Go without consulting an attorney and get at least some coaching about how to present your case to the mediator effectively and properly.

If you cannot afford a child custody attorney to help you prepare your documents or represent you in court, at least hire a family law attorney to get some coaching about how to present your side of the story to the mediator so that you do not have to figh an uphill battle in Court.

What Clients Should Keep In Mind Going In Family Law Courts

Posted by Tashfeen Haq on May 31, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Clients often wonder "can I win my child custody case?", or "can I win my divorce case?". The answer always depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding their case.

However, no attorney should give clients "high" hopes about any case, because "you never know what can happen" in court.

Keep in mind several factors before you go to Court:

1)  Lawsuits are like "cooking" (metaphorically) - 50% is about "preparation" and 50% is about "presentation". If you do not have a well prepared case, it does not matter if your presentation is great...the judge may not be convinced with your argument, because your argument will be missing information. On the other hand, if you are well prepared for your case, but are not able to present it well, again the judge may not be convinced by your argument. So, both preparation and presentation are required to have a fighting chance in court.

2)  Have "reasonable expectations" - Never go in court with "high" expectaions. In many instances, experienced lawyers lose cases that were easy wins and inexperienced lawyers win cases that had little chance of winning. Always consider the possibility that something might go wrong and that you need to be mentally and emotionally (as well as financially) be prepared to handle such negative outcomes. Reason being, judges are unpredictable. You don't know if your judge has experienced a high conflict divorce or custody battle in his or her personal life, or is paying child support. As such, you don't know what sort of preconceived biases that judge will bring to the bench when he or she will preside over your case. Because of these unknown factors, do not have high expectations. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

3) No Guarantees. It does not matter whether you have an experienced attorney who has been practicing family law for 40 years and charges $1,000.00 per hour, or if you have a newly licensed attorney who passed the attorney license exam (BAR exam) yesterday and charges $150.00 per hour. Ultimately, it is up to the Judge to decide in whose favor he will rule. Just like God, you do not know if God will accept or reject your prayers; similarly, you do not know, at the end of the day, if the judge will decide in your favor or against you. Ofcourse, Judges are not perfect, and that's when you can try to use the appeals process to overturn a decision.

If you have a family law case, you should contact our Riverside family law attorney and find out what your rights are. That is the first thing you should do, and you MUST take advantage of this consultation. If you are not an attorney, or do not practice family law, you do not know your rights. It would be in your best interest to find out your rights. We offer FREE PHONE CONSULTATIONS 7 days a week. 

Why You Should Hire A Family Law Attorney

Posted by Tashfeen Haq on May 31, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Often clients ask, "do I need a Riverside divorce lawyer or family law attorney to represent me in court or can I do this case myself?". The answer is always "it depends". If your case is a simple divorce, for example, where you do not have any property, spousal support, child custody issues, or both parties are in agreement on everything, then most likely you will NOT need a family law attorney.

However, most family law cases are not simple. Either party can disagree about something. After all, if you agreed on everything, then there would not be any reason why you could not work out your problems with each other.

So, what are some of the reasons why you should hire an attorney? The answers are obvious, but not something that we usually keep in mind.

What others say -

Other attorney websites will say that the reasons why people should hire an attorney is because, 1) they (the other attorneys' firms) care about your case, 2) they are professional and experienced, 3) that you should not neglect attention to your case, etc etc.

What we say -

Main reasons why you should hire an attorney are:

1) You do not speak "legal". In other words, look at your audience and ask yourself if you speak the language your audience understands. Your audience is the "Judge". Do you speak "legal"? If the answer is "no", then you should hire an attorney;

2) You are "emotionally" involved in the case. When a client is emotionally involved in a case, especially in a high conflict child custody or property division case, clients puts his/her case in jeoperdy (e.g. crying during a hearing in front of the judge, or getting angry and showing it). 

Think of a case like a poker game. You always want to have a poker face in the game, and do not want your opponent to know what you are thinking by looking at your face. Similarly, you do not want to show your emotions during a hearing or trial in court or to the other side because display of emotions will show that you have a weak case.

What Questions To Ask When Hiring A Divorce, Custody, or Family Law Attorney

Posted by Tashfeen Haq on July 30, 2011 at 1:25 AM

A potential client who is either going through a divorce, child custody battle, or seeking restraining order should always ask the attorney questions to decide if the attorney is right for the client.

1) No Guarantees - NEVER hire a family law attorney who guarantees you he or she can win your case. No attorney is allowed to guarantee that they can win your case.

2) Experience - ask how experienced the attorney is in family law. Just because an attorney has been practicing for 20 years does not mean someone who has been practicing for 5 years cannot help you get a favorable result for your child custody or divorce, or restraining order case. Remember, even a beginner attorney can win a case against an experienced attorney as long as the beginner attorney has had enough experience in the matter and know what he or she is doing.

3) Focus on Family Law - find out if the attorney practices ONLY family law or if the attorney practices a wide variety of law. Knowing what law the attorney practices most should give you an idea about the experience level of the attorney, not to mention the attorney's familiarity with the local judges and court rules for those practice areas. If an attorney practices criminal law, civil law, and family law, there is a higher chance that the attorney knows less about family law compared to an attorney who only practices family law. So, choose carefully.

4) Face-to-Face Consultation - NEVER hire an attorney without meeting him or her face-to-face or talking with him directly. In other words, many attorneys have their paralegals do the initial interview, which is fine. However, after the initial interview, the paralegals also explain to the client the attorney-client agreement, the fee retainer agreement, and gives the client the choice of whether the client wants to retain the attorney's services. Never make the mistake of hiring the attorney by only speaking with the paralegal(s). ALWAYS speak to the attorney at least once before hiring him. You are going to pay the attorney a substantial amount of money; you should at least talk to the attorney "once" before giving him the money.

We offer FREE PHONE CONSULTATION 7 days by phone until 7 pm. So, call us. You have nothing to lose and only knowledge to gain.


 


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