Divorce and Drinking in CA: Will a DUI Affect My Custody Rights?

When parents are going through a divorce that involves a battle for the custody of children, there are considerations when DUI charges are pending or were present in the past. California courts are concerned with the safety, well-being and proper care of the children. Having physical custody of a child involves many responsibilities. Ultimately, the goal of the court system is to place children in a home that offers optimum parenting skills.

If you are trying to obtain legal custody and not physical custody, a DUI may still be a serious consideration. Decisions about a child’s health, education and many other details of their daily life may be better handled by the parent that shows responsibility through their own actions.

What Else May a DUI Charge Imply?

Our Walnut Creek DUI lawyer in California suggests that the court will want to know your background as a parent. If you have a current DUI charge, is it because you are a partier? If so, will parenting take a backseat to the lure of your social life? Was the child present in the car when you were stopped for the violation? Even if you had just dropped off your child or were just arriving to pick up her up, that is a serious situation and concern for the court when making custody decisions.

Current DUI Charge

The wisest decision you can make when faced with a DUI charge while a custody hearing is in progress, is to get an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with DUI cases. If you live in Northern California, contacting an attorney local to the area is essential to helping you achieve a favorable outcome. In fact, if this DUI is your first offense, a California court may allow a plea bargain that will reduce the charge so that no DUI will be entered on the records.

While the DUI charge may enter into the decision about custody, facing the charge and making an effort to resolve the issue will also have an impact, and hopefully, a positive one. Calling an attorney as early as possible after a DUI arrest is important because he or she can counsel you in many ways if they are involved in the case from the beginning. You could even choose a lawyer who is experienced in both DUI and child custody issues.

Past DUI Charges

Some other things to think about if you have past DUI charges on you record are: How did you handle those? Did you have more than one? Was it determined that you had a drinking problem? If so, did you complete a program to conquer the addiction and did that result in no additional DUI charges? A continuing history of DUIs is extremely detrimental to a custody hearing.

Another issue that may have adverse effects on your child custody case is if the DUI charge was coupled with other charges. Did the DUI involve an accident? Were any criminal charges filed? Were people hurt or was property damaged? All of these factors will be considered in your ability to care for your children.

Finding the Best DUI Attorney

As a parent facing a custody battle and a DUI issue, you will undoubtedly need the best attorney you can afford. Sharing custody of your children, at least part of the time, is a big incentive to get an attorney on your side as soon as the DUI charge is filed. A qualified legal team will be instrumental in helping you by offering the best possible options and alternatives in your specific situation. Knowing all your options and what actions you need to take is vital to the success of both your DUI charge and your custody hearing.

Karla M. Somers has worked as a child advocate and family mediator for divorce and custody cases in the state of New York. She is a contributing writer for the Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson, a dedicated Walnut Creek DUI lawyer team who is passionate about DUI defense and parental rights cases. They can answer your questions and help you put legal matters behind you.

Benefits of Hiring a Child Support Lawyer

(US family law and general legal info) Child support laws are in place to ensure that adequate financial aid is given to the children from their parents, who are not staying with their children. Usually, child support is associated with divorce or separation, wherein both the parents are not raising their child together. Thus, a financial aid is generally paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to meet the financial requirements for care and support to the child. Child support amount can include expenses such as food, clothing, medical care, health insurance, education, housing, and other special needs of the child.

A child support lawyer is a specialist lawyer, who has studied family laws and gained legal experience in handling cases related to divorce and child support. If you are facing a separation or divorce case with children, you may need help of an experienced family lawyer.

Benefits of Hiring a Child Support Lawyer
Representing your divorce case may or may not be simple. If the decision is not mutual, it is likely to be emotionally distressing. You may not be able to represent your divorce case on your own. Thus, appointing a lawyer for the same is a wise option. One more reason to appoint an attorney to handle your divorce and child support case is that the divorce laws are complicated, and those related to child support are complex too. In addition to being complex, child support laws are different in every state of the United States.

A lawyer experienced in child support cases can be abreast with all the updates and has expertise in calculating the child support amounts. In case, there is any difference in the calculated figure and the amount announced by the court, your lawyer can protest the same. Your lawyer can also educate about other factors involved in child support such as how to make the payments, whether or not the child support can be recalculated, and when does the child support will stop etc.

Responsibilities and Duties
Job as a child support lawyer entails performing various tasks right from evaluating your case, advising you, conducting counsellings with you and your spouse for possible ways to handle the case.

Child support cases are filed with Department of Child Support Services. A lawyer has to oversee all the cases related to child support with the department. He has to be involved in advising department staff. He advices parents related to legal issues, and who are involved in support actions and paternity.

He prepares for the pleadings, hearings, motions and conducts discovery required for the case trail, and other legal proceedings. Creates and maintains accurate case records. He is also involved in negotiating settlements with your spouse.

A child support lawyer similar to other types of lawyers, focuses on one arena of the legal system representing child support. Such cases are associated with divorce and separation cases. These lawyers obtain a Juris Doctorate degree and should be active member of the state bar association. A child support lawyer will explain to you your rights related to visitation and the extent to which you can be held liable for child support, depending upon your monthly income and other relative factors.

This Guest post is written by Lords Screw. He is a writer for Typeoflawyer.com

Parents Access Rights ‘Enshrined’ in Law

One of the reasons that divorce law is so complex is that very often the rules are a matter of fine interpretation. Deciding what is the best case for a child as young as two or three can come down to a few difficult paragraphs of wording or just a better argued case.

Sometimes, however, the law is perfectly clear cut and in an attempt to simplify divorce legislation, the government has recently put through an amendment which will ‘enshrine’ the rights of both parents to have access to a child. In essence, what was once a complex and subtle issue is to be made explicit and the law will serve the rights of both parents in most circumstances. So do these changes make sense? Has the government made the right move?

Protecting Fathers
Though at all times family law experts attempts to set out the proper, just way of dealing with an issue, this amendment will undoubtedly benefit fathers seeking access rights. In just under 10% of divorce cases children reside ‘mainly’ with their father and this legislation seeks to correct this bias.

Of course, this should not overrule what is in the child’s immediate interest if, say, a father or mother is violent or unfit for the role, but it does give genuinely willing fathers a leg-up.

Admin over Justice
Plenty of family law solicitors have expressed their discontent with the changes and they claim that the new legislation is simply not required – in calculating the interests of the child, courts already take into account the benefits of having influence from both parents.

When parents are given rights to access, disputes start arising over whether the right to access should be equal or properly apportioned. Undoubtedly, this will put a good deal of extra strain on courts for what will be more or less the same end result.

The Paramountcy Principle

After all is said and done, what realistically and legally matters is the interest of the child – this is the paramountcy principle. Though there are many cases in which both mothers and fathers fall unfortunately the wrong side of the legislation, family law experts do understand and appreciate the benefit of enabling joint access wherever possible. Though these changes might redress the balance between those living with dad and those living with mum, the statistics really aren’t the point – what matters is the child’s well-being and at the moment, judges do all they can to ensure fair access to children.

Though we’ll have to wait and see what the real effects of these changes will be, it’s likely that they will be pretty unpopular throughout the justice system and, as happened in Australia, we might well see a reversal of the law in the future.

Clough and Willis Solicitors have a dedicated team of family law specialists who are headed by a Resolution accredited specialist who can advise on divorce settlements and agreements. We can also advise on the appropriateness of referring the dispute to a mediator and deal with negotiation of child arrangements on your behalf. If required, we represent both parents and grandparents within Court proceedings.

Family Law Update Puts Emphasis on Children’s Best Interests

A new bill of law has been announced in the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of Parliament regarding children and families. The bill will see plans implemented in order to allow parental leave to now be shared between a child’s parents, make the process for adopting international families easier and also provide a greater number of choices for children with special educational needs. Finally, it will improve the access given to children by their fathers in the wake of a divorce. Ministers are now planning to introduce more flexibility following an independent report being published in May 2011, recommending that the right to request such flexibility be extended to people with parental responsibilities to children below the age of 16. Changes to the law surrounding adoption will now prevent local authorities from delaying the process in order to find a perfect match if a suitable one is currently available. Compensation will be available to families who suffer as a result of the new procedures not being followed.

Ethnicity of the child’s prospective adopters and a child will now take second place in the majority of cases in order to speed up the process of finding a child a permanent family. Furthermore, the government plans an introduction of a number of further recommendations which are contained in a final report of the Family Justice Review published at the end of last year. These include adjustments such as a limit of six months by which care cases must be completed, making it explicit that case management decisions can only be made after the interests of the child have been taken into full consideration. It’s hope that this will focus courts on issues which are essential to deciding whether or not to implement care, and get rid of any unnecessary procedures in family court proceedings by removing the requirement for interim care and supervision orders.

To further bolster the positive improvements being made in legislation, the government will also introduce changes to ensure that a child maintains a relationship with both parents following a family separation, but only in circumstances where it is both safe and in the best interests of the child. Professionals working in the legal field have met the adjustments in law with varying opinions. Some state that the proposals do not to work in the best interests of the parents, while others say that the law could’ve taken the best interests of the child even further. Further reading on the children & families feature in the Queen’s Speech 2012 is recommended.