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Three Ways to Protect Your Kids During a Divorce

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce more than two years ago. She and Brad Pitt are still trying to finalize the terms of their split. In November, the pair finally found common ground and were able to reach a child custody agreement. However, several reports indicate that the contentious divorce has strained the relationships Jolie and Pitt have with their kids. In fact, Pitt believes that he may “never be able to repair” his relationships with his two oldest sons, Maddox (17) and Pax (15). Children will always be affected when their parents decide to get a divorce. The longer it takes to hash out the terms and finalize the split, the harder it can be for any kids involved. If … Continued

Can Language Fluency Affect Your Child Custody Case?

Should the language you speak have any bearing on your right to have custody of your children? Does your native tongue affect your ability to raise, support, or otherwise take care of your family? Can the fact that you speak your child’s language fluently help to overcome other issues that may otherwise limit your custodial rights? According to a Fourth District Court of Appeals judge, the answer is generally “no.” Father Argues Language Proficiency Makes Him a Fit Parent A San Diego woman recently filed for divorce from her husband, citing a history of physical abuse. In the petition, she sought sole physical custody of the couple’s young son. During a hearing, a judge found that there was sufficient evidence … Continued

Child Custody During the Holidays

The holiday season is quickly approaching. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and other winter celebrations will be here before we know it. For many, the holidays are an occasion to relax and spend time with the ones we love most. However, this can be difficult when parents are divorced. If you are getting a divorce – or thinking about getting a divorce – it’s important to dedicate time and energy to designing a custody arrangement that works best for your family. Any child custody plan should address an issue that causes a lot of strife and distress: where children will spend the holidays. How Timeshare Custody Can Affect Your Holiday Plans Timeshare custody refers to the amount of time a child spends … Continued

How a Mother Can Get Sole Custody of a Child in Los Angeles

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in the fall of 2016. Nearly two years later, the couple has still not finalized their divorce. Why? One of the primary reasons is that the parents cannot agree on the terms of child custody. For the past few months, Jolie and Pitt have had several public legal fights over custody. Why? Jolie reportedly wants sole physical custody of the kids. Pitt has been fighting her every step of the way. Is it possible for a mother to get full custody of her children? When would a court agree that a mother should be awarded full custody? What arguments should a mother use to support her case? It’s important to understand how … Continued

Temporary Custody Arrangements During Your Divorce

Divorce is never easy. It can be even more difficult when there are young children involved. One important aspect of a divorce is figuring out child custody arrangements. If you are separated from your spouse and living apart, you will have to figure out where the children will live during the divorce process. If you and your spouse can’t agree on temporary custody, a court has the right to step in an make the decision for you. Figuring Out Custody During Your Divorce When you get a divorce, you and your spouse will have to agree on certain terms. These can include property division and spousal support. As a parent getting divorced, you have the responsibility of figuring out a … Continued

Understanding the Differences Between Legal & Physical Custody

Funnyman Bill Hader, best known for his time on Saturday Night Live, recently filed for divorce from his wife after 11 years of marriage. Hader and his wife have two children together who will be affected by the split. In order to finalize the divorce, Hader and his wife will have to agree on a custody arrangement for their children. In California, there are actually two distinct types of child custody: legal and physical. Each type of custody refers to a different set of rights a parent will have in regard to their children. According to early reports, it appears as though Hader has requested joint physical and legal custody of the kids. Legal Custody What is legal custody? Legal … Continued

Requesting Psychological Testing in a Los Angeles Child Custody Matter

Do you think that your child’s other parent is emotionally or psychologically unfit to care for your child?  Are you afraid that your child is at risk of harm because of a parent’s mental health condition? Whether you are in the middle of getting a divorce, have never been married, or have been separated for years, you have the right to make sure that your child is safe. In California, you have the right to request psychological testing in your child custody hearing. Considering the Best Interests of a Child Courts are required to determine a child custody arrangement that serves the best interests of the child. In most cases, this will mean awarding joint physical custody and keeping children … Continued

Drug Testing in Los Angeles Child Custody Cases

Drug and alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of divorce in Los Angeles. If your spouse’s drug abuse has led you to the important decision to get a divorce it is important to contact a Los Angeles family law attorney. This is especially true if you and your spouse have children who will be affected by the split. As a part of your divorce, you will be required to determine a custody arrangement for your children. When drug and/or alcohol abuse are factors in the divorce you can fight to limit your spouse’s custody and/or visitation rights. Asking the court to order a drug test can help to support your arguments during a child custody dispute. Keeping Los … Continued

Can You Kidnap Your Own Child?

When parents are in the middle of a contentious child custody battle the situation can be tense. In some cases, a child custody battle can escalate to the point where one parent decides to physically take the child without the permission of the other parent or the court. If this happens, a parent can face criminal charges for parental kidnapping. If you have been accused of kidnapping your own child – whether you are in the midst of a child custody battle or not – it is important to understand the potential criminal consequences you may face. Your actions during a civil child custody battle can most certainly have criminal consequences. Kidnapping is somewhat of a misnomer. There is no … Continued

California Affords Custody Protections to Military Parents

Each year, thousands of men and women in the military are deployed to serve the country. These deployments can be hard enough without the added stresses of custody and divorce battles. Unfortunately, these are realities many of our servicemen and servicewomen face. Special Federal and California state laws provide legal protections for military parents and provide safeguards to protect their parental rights while serving. Military members with shared custody of a child who have received notice of deployment or mobilization should contact an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer to discuss their rights as military parents. Federal and California State Protections Federal law institutes a mandatory stay on legal action involving active duty military servicemen and servicewomen for the first 90 … Continued

Emancipation in Los Angeles

If you are below the age of majority (18 years of age), you are under the control and responsibility of your parents. Hence, your parents must provide you with the essentials: food, water, shelter, et cetera. In addition, your parents are able to pick where you live and where you go to school. All of this, however, is not the case if you, the minor child, are emancipated. In sum, emancipation frees a minor child from the control and responsibility previously held by his or her parents. Emancipation, in other words, gives the minor child the rights and responsibilities of an adult. So, emancipation allows minor children to technically become adults before they are 18. Note that emancipation laws differ … Continued

Grandparents’ Rights for Custody and Visitation in California

Are you a grandparent? Do you wish to have visitation rights with your grandchild or grandchildren? This may be a possibility here in California. However, and as discussed in detail below, certain requirements must be met before you, the grandparent, can be granted such visitation rights. This process can be convoluted. For this reason, it is important to hire an attorney to guide you through this complex process. The family law lawyers of Berenji & Associates are here for you. Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation. Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in California Per California law, if you are a grandparent, you may request the court for reasonable visitation with your grandchild. However, certain requirements must be met before you … Continued

Serving as a Legal Guardian in California

Serving as a legal guardian for a child can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Despite the positive experiences that can come from serving as a guardian, there are also many responsibilities involved. In California, a legal guardian is anyone who is an adult whom the court gives the authority to provide care for a child and manage a child’s assets. In California, relatives and friends can serve as a guardian if the court approves their appointment. If you would like more info on this topic, contact Berenji & Associates for more information. What are the Duties of a Guardian in California? When you become a guardian in the state of California, you assume legal responsibility for a child. In the eyes … Continued

Family Law Issues with an Incarcerated Spouse or Parent

From the famous Alcatraz to the notorious San Quentin prison, prisons in California have had a substantial place in California’s culture, and a serious role in the lives of many of California’s residents. As of last week, there were 179,612 inmates in the California Department of Corrections system. While we are not criminal defense lawyers, we do practice family law, and there are many cases that come to the family court that involve a spouse or parent who is incarcerated.   Child Support and an Incarcerated Parent One of the most direct ties between family law and the California prison system is the failure to pay child support. If a court orders you to pay child support, it is your … Continued

Changes to California’s Foster Care System

There are some significant changes coming to California’s foster care system. In 2017 California’s foster care homes will be shutting down, or at a minimum changing because of legislation passed in September of last year. The bill seeks to improve the state’s foster care system and encourage family based placements for children rather than group homes. This bill will also increase the need for experienced divorce and family law attorneys who are comfortable with adoption law. This bill effectively would transition from the use of group homes to short term residential treatment centers. Only children with “clinical” needs would not be place in family homes. For more information, contact Berenji & Associates today. Critiques of the Bill Those who do … Continued

Social Media’s Impact on Family Court Proceedings

According to some studies five new Facebook profiles are generated every second and nearly 6,000 tweets are sent out per second. In a number that has almost certainly increased since the study’s release, a 2011 research study indicated that there were 18,747,420 Facebook users in California. This meant that nearly one out of every two California residents had a Facebook profile. By analogy, in the context of family law, this would mean that in every divorce decree issued in 2011, at least one of the spouses involved in the proceeding would have an online presence. Since 2011 Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media have grown exponentially. Social media takes up a large presence in our personal and professional … Continued

Child Custody and the Indian Child Welfare Act

In recent weeks, California has exploded with news stories about a small child named Lexi. Lexi, at first review, is much like any other kindergarten student. She loves playing in her yard, horses, and drawing. However, unlike many other children her age, Lexi’s name has gotten national media attention due a unique child custody issue. The child custody dispute stems from a battle between Lexi’s California foster parents and the Choctaw Native American Tribe. Lexi has a small part of Choctaw heritage and her biological father is a member of the Choctaw tribe but her birth mother is not. However, while Choctaw is only a fraction of Lexi’s heritage it has caused a large stir in California over who is … Continued

When Child Custody Goes International

Conflicts over child custody in a divorce are hard enough when the parties live near each other. When the separating spouses live primarily in two different countries, however, things can become much more complicated in a hurry. If you need help with child custody matters, call Berenji & Associates today for a free consultation. Such was the case with actress Kelly Rutherford, whose two children were ordered to live in France with their father, Daniel Giersch, after the couple’s divorce in 2009. After an international legal battle lasting several years, a Los Angeles family court judge ordered the return of the two children to Rutherford late last month. The Case of Kelly Rutherford As international marriages become more common, Rutherford’s … Continued

Legal And Physical Custody Explained

There are two types of child custody in California, legal and physical custody. While both are equally important, individuals tend to argue and fight over physical custody a lot more than legal custody. Legal custody is the custodial rights over legal issues such as issuance of passport, issuance of driver’s license, decision making over non-emergency medical care, choosing the minor child’s school and doctors, etc. Physical custody is exactly what it sounds like, it is the physical custodial rights over the minor child. Legal Custody Legal custody of the minor children is usually joint unless one side can show that the other is not making decisions in the best interest of the minor child or that they are so difficult to … Continued