Recently in Move Away Custody Category

July 19, 2012

California Child Support: Halle Berry Ordered to Pay $20,000 Per Month in Child Support, Still Wants to Move with Daughter to Paris

Halle_Berry_11_AA.jpgAn ongoing child custody dispute between actress Halle Berry and her ex, Gabriel Autry, took an unconventional turn in late June, when a judge ordered Berry to pay child support to Autry for their daughter, 4 year-old Nahla Aubrey. Berry must pay $20,000 a month to Aubrey under the judge's order. Berry has said she wants to move to Paris, France with Nahla. The specific custody arrangement remains to be determined.

The 45 year-old Berry began dating Aubrey, a 36 year-old model from Canada, in 2005. Their daughter, Nahla Ariela Aubry, was born in March 2008. The couple reportedly separated in April 2010. Berry started dating French actor Olivier Martinez later in 2010, to whom she is now engaged. She has stated that she wants to move to Paris not only because of her fiance, but also to escape from the intense media scrutiny that comes from being a celebrity in Los Angeles. Her wish to raise Nahla in Paris appears to be the major point of contention between her and Aubrey.

Aubrey filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 30, 2010, asking the court to formally recognize him as Nahla's father. He and Berry, according to his court filing, had already signed paternity documents. Since they were not married at the time of the child's birth, Aubrey has no legal presumption of paternity. Aubrey also asked the court to award joint custody of Nahla to both parents.

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November 7, 2011

Child Custody Law and Spanking Your Child

Justia-photo-119 belt.jpegApproximately on November 1, 2011, a video of a father spanking his daughter, with his belt, became viral on the Internet. This video is shown below, although I caution you that this video is violent and disturbing. Since hundreds of thousands of viewers have already seen this video, I'm not disclosing anything that is private. The topic of spanking, or violent discipline--when will it lead to the loss of child custody rights? Caution: This video is disturbing so I recommend that you watch a few seconds just to understand the nature of the punishment.
As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer, my office handles many child custody cases. Many will read this posting and wonder, up to this point, why I am using the word "spanking" when the video displays, in my opinion, an angry, violent beating. However the question in law is when does any of this type of behavior lead to a loss of custody rights. This issue was raised by journalist Tim Sakahara in an online news story posted on HawaiiNewsNow. The mom died in an accident and the father is raising the child. The mom was the daughter of "Dog" Chapman (TV show--Dog, the Bounty Hunter). The father's child custody rights are at risk by virtue of an incident brought before the family court where the father is alleged to have beaten the child with a belt.

California child custody law involves terms of "joint custody", "legal custody", "physical custody" and other rights known as "visitation" rights. Visitation may be ordered as supervised visitation when the court believes that a parent is a danger to the child. My office brought a motion against a father who took a belt to his son leaving a visible mark on the child's arm which appeared to be a perfect impression of the belt buckle of the belt which the father used. My office is aware of the many legal cases and statutes which support a motion to take custody away from an abusive parent.

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September 28, 2011

Child Custody Move Away Cases Increase

Justia-photo-115 foreclosure.jpegCBS 8 San Diego reports that child custody relocation cases have increased during our economic recession. In a story dated September 26, 2011, a survey from the AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) is cited and discussed. The survey cites that a significant increase in housing debt during the last three years is connected with an increase in custody move away cases. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer my office has witnessed similar events over the last three years.

This is easy to understand. For example, picture a couple coming to a point where one spouse files for a divorce. Assume that the Husband moves out of the family residence leaving the Wife and children behind. The Wife, with or without a job, finds herself unable to afford the mortgage. This is common. (The Ventura County Star reported on August 10, 2011, that foreclosures in California led the country in July 2011. That over 56,000 foreclosure filings occurred during the month.) The Wife, in our hypothetical, is the primary caretaker of the children. She cannot afford the home. Rental units are expensive in San Diego and she has family who will assist her in the mid-west. She files for a child custody order and permission to relocate with the children.

Child custody under California law is comprised of Physical Custody and Legal Custody. Simply put, these terms define where the child primarily lives and the rights of the parents as to information and decision making concerning the health, education and welfare of the child. The issue of "move away" or "relocation" is whether the physical custody parent may take the child with him or her when the custody parent relocates to another geographic area.

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June 14, 2011

Child Custody and Domestic Violence Explored

Justia-photo-99 GPS.jpegIn a well researched and written article in examiner.com, writer Bonnie Russell's focus is the San Diego Mayoral race; however her article raises relevant issues regarding the Family Law Court, District Attorney's Office, domestic violence cases, new technology to protect victims and a growing number of family members and children killed while public servants reportedly fail to take family violence seriously. This is a significant accusation and one needs to read the entire article with all of the links to appreciate the expressed point of view.

With a La Jolla divorce law office I know that I am operating at a distance, along with my clientele, from the reality of family law and domestic violence from the view at street level. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney my cases involve high income support issues, business and income valuations, custody and move away custody (including International move away custody) cases. Ms. Russell's article raises the question of whether law enforcement treats an allegation of violence differently if the perpetrator and victim are in a family law child custody case. Does our government take family crime less seriously than other types of crime? However, every family law office, including mine, has encountered cases involving threats and actions of alarming family violence.

Mr. Russell links her article to a web page showing domestic violence statistics and another page detailing the murder of children in domestic violence matters. The article expresses opinions as to some specific public officials that are not my opinions. However the focus of her article is that there is new technology that may protect victims of domestic violence; namely a GPs devise that warns the victim when the perpetrator has violated the restraining order by coming dangerously close to the victim. The video below explains how this device may work.

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May 16, 2011

Child Custody News: Mom Loses Custody Move Away Case

Justia-photo-96 children.jpegThis news story was reported all over the country and I found a comprehensive report of the story published in the Chicago Tribune by reporter Julie Deardorff. Briefly, a mom of two children, eleven year old daughter and 5 year old son, lived with her children in North Carolina while the father of the children moved to Illinois when he was hired by a company there. The father filed a motion in the North Carolina court seeking custody of the children, and seeking an order that the children would relocate to Illinois to live with the father. In the San Diego Superior Court this is known as a child custody move away motion or a child custody relocation motion.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer, I am very familiar with these motions. My office handles many move away custody cases; especially at this time of year in The Family Court as parents who are seeking a move-away custody order want to reestablish themselves in the new area and enroll the children in the new school prior to September. The reported reasons that the father used in this case is probably what caused this case to make the news all over the country. Reportedly, the father said that the children should be removed from their mother in North Carolina because the mother has stage four breast cancer; and, that he (recently hired) had a job whereas the mother was unemployed.

Not surprisingly, the national news exploded with this story when a North Carolina judge agreed with the father. Losing custody of your children, and having your children moved to another part of the country because you have cancer? Or that you are unemployed? However, a North Carolina attorney states that there are reasons for the change of custody other than the illness or the employment status of the mother. The point of the story to me is that every child custody case is unique. Every case has a wide range of facts and each case requires the skill, training and experience of the family law attorney to discern which facts will enhance the likelihood that the child custody motion will be granted. The mom's family posted the below video on You Tube. This blog takes no position as to the outcome of the case.

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May 9, 2011

Learning From Sandra Bullock's Divorce

Justia-photo-95 kat von d.jpegAn article was posted, May 4, 2011, on X17online.com regarding the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James divorce. The article contained an interview of Jesse James conducted by ABC News. The statements by Mr. James are interesting as they deviate from the initial statements of Mr. James, made immediately after the separation. This blog posted several articles as to the divorce and it is recalled how Mr. James expressed his sorrow regarding the separation and that he would enter rehab to address the issues raised.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer I have found that the end of a marriage is often used by both parties to reflect on whether the marriage could have been saved and what conduct was responsible for the separation. However in the article mentioned above, Mr. James stated that possibly he wanted Ms. Bullock to catch him in his extra marital activities. He also stated that he has not seen the baby, since the separation, that Ms. Bullock (and presumably Mr. James) adopted during the marriage. And, the best quote from Mr. James--that he spent six years "worrying" about what Ms. Bullock thought and wanted; and that it was now time to "worry about Jesse".

The article is interesting and compatible with what I have found: Namely, that people don't change unless they really want to change. Mr. James' statements suggested that he tried to be what Ms. Bullock wanted; however, he wasn't committed to changing. And, that he now fully embraces a lifestyle to which he identifies. He announces that he is now seeing a reality TV personality, Kat Von D, and her photo is posted with this article.

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April 25, 2011

Charlie Sheen Child Custody Case Explained

Justia-photo-93 Sheen.jpegAs a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney, I've had thousands of child custody and custody move away cases handled in my family law office. I've had to research the Charlie Sheen custody story from many different reports. Charlie Sheen is the father of twin boys with mother Brooke Mueller. They lived together until reportedly Charlie pulled a knife on Brooke in 2009. The parents lived separately and raised their two, young children, until 3/21/11 when Brooke filed for a restraining order claiming that Charlie had threatened her. (Bob and Max were 23 months old at the time of the March 1, Domestic Violence Restraining Order request.) Mail Online published a detailed story as to the restraining order and you can see the first page of the restraining order, and the story summary, here.

Brooke was successful in obtaining the temporary restraining order on 3/1/2011. However, Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, granted on a temporary basis, must be heard in court 21 days later and, at this second restraining order hearing, the court will decide whether to grant a permanent restraining order. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders grant orders intended to offer protection to the victim (for example, by a stay away order, an order to "kick out" the perpetrator from the family residence, an order that the perpetrator turn over all of his/her guns to law enforcement, etc. And the Domestic Violence Restraining Order may include a child custody and visitation order. The restraining order served on Charlie Sheen did contain a custody order as Charlie had to turn over the twins to Brooke's custody.

Almost immediately after the restraining order was filed, granted and served, Charlie's lawyers, according to a news report, vigorously pursued and obtained a child custody agreement between Charlie and Brooke. This maneuver is frequently overlooked by those less experienced in child custody litigation. Instead of waiting to litigate the child custody case in court (with witnesses, evidence, mediators, etc...) Charlie and Brooke reach an out of court agreement.

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March 21, 2011

Child Custody, Support, Mansions

Justia-photo-90 palm beach.jpegUPI.com and many other news agencies report that the former wife of Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren, has purchased a mansion in Palm Beach for $12 million. Reportedly, the home is 17,000 square feet and built in 1932. You can see a photo of the mansion here. It is a part of the divorce settlement that Ms. Nordegren received which has been estimated to be in the range of $100 million to $200 million. The settlement is private and confidential however the estimates are fairly accurate as Mr. Wood's marital estate was fairly well known. This blog posted many articles as to the Woods' divorce; correctly assessing how much Ms. Nordegren would receive by way of child support, spousal support and/or property division.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney my office in La Jolla (UTC area) handles many child custody cases and, related to the Woods' divorce, child custody move away cases. A move away, or child custody relocation case, is defined and connected to a significant amount of California law including the reported decisions of two California Supreme Court cases. The law defines whether a parent has the right to relocate to another geographic area with a child or children or the marriage. Further, the law defines whether the other parent has the rights to keep the child or children from relocating with the moving parent. This blog posted an article as to the Woods' divorce predicting that Ms. Nordegren would be successful in asserting her right to relocate with the children back to her home country Sweden.

Evidently, Mr. Woods and his attorney came to the same conclusion that I did as to the move away issue. The following is my educated guess as to how Mr. Woods resolved the case: He assertively moved forward with a generous monetary settlement. His wealth was identifiable so he openly offered a quick and substantial settlement to his wife with (likely) a provision as to his visitation. Reportedly, this settlement included the Palm Beach mansion which is geographically located near to Mr. Woods' residence.

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February 21, 2011

San Diego Divorce News: Amber Alert and Child Custody

Thumbnail image for Justia-photo-88 amber alert.jpegSan Diego 6 news reported of an alleged kidnapping of a baby resulting in an Amber Alert and an ending that was safe for the child. The baby is identified as 9 month old Elijah. There is no report that the father who took the child was ever married to the mother of Elijah. There is no dispute that the man, Edgar, is in fact the father of the child. The parents live approximately 65 miles apart from each other. Reportedly, Edgar was visiting with the nine month old child, at the mother's home, when he decided to physically take the child, driving off in his car. The mother called the authorities. A state wide Amber Report went out. The father and baby were found safe at the father's home and the child was returned to the mother.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney, I am very experienced in child custody cases; child custody move away or relocation cases; applications for child custody by Fathers; defenses against such applications by Mothers; child theft cases; paternity cases with child custody issues; parenting schedule development that is age appropriate for a baby, or a child, and cases involving child custody with preferences as stated by child. There are many nuances in these cases. The primary focus under California law is the "best interest of the child"; however there is no child custody case that can be oversimplified and the various factors to the case must be considered.

The ending of this story, involving nine month old Elijah, was happy. The baby was unharmed. Possibly the father, Edgar, was well intentioned and simply wanted to be with his child. However, many of these stories do not have a happy ending. Children are frequently harmed by a distressed and irrational parent. Here, the state spent a significant amount of money searching for, and executing a State wide Amber Alert for, baby Elijah. How will this visitation method of Edgar affect his parenting rights in the future? Possibly, Edgar was persuaded by "father's rights" activists that he had a right to remove the child. In reality, his actions were naïve, and may have harmed his potential rights.

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February 14, 2011

California Child Custody Move Away Request Granted

Justia-photo-86 mom and child.jpgIn a recent "Not To Be Published" (this case cannot be cited in legal Points and Authorities) appellate court decision, In re the Marriage of CELIA L. and ROBERT N. BURNS, a Father's appeal of a trial court decision, allowing the Mother to move away with the minor child, was dismissed. The purpose of this posting is to provide a brief analysis of this case to better understand why the motion was successful for the Mother and why the Father's effort to block the move away failed.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer, I have handled many child custody move away cases (also known as child custody relocation cases). With a La Jolla family law office, we see clients who are financially mobile. We see clients who have school or work opportunities in other parts of the country or the world. Also, it is common that when a marriage breaks up, the primary custody parent will want to move back home with his/her family in another state. The United States is a very mobile country. People have a desire or a need to move. It is our job to know when the Court is likely to allow the move or likely to deny that a parent may relocate with a child.

In the Burns case, the Father stated that when the mother left the marriage, she moved, with a child of the marriage, to another city, and that relocation was unlawful and should not have permitted by the trial court. The parties met in 2004 and married in 2005. The marriage was unsuccessful, almost from the start. Allegations of anger, domestic violence and irreconcilable differences led to the Mother filing for divorce in 2007. Amidst Order to Show Cause motions for custody and Domestic Violence Restraining Order filings, the Mother moved away with the child. Immediately we see that the Father made procedural mistakes at this early stage of the case. Possibly the Father was a self represented litigant at this stage as the court proceedings contain many over the top statements by the Father in connection with the custody case. Hyperbole and drama is not a good substitute for evidence.

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February 3, 2011

California Joint Physical Custody Request

Justia-photo-85 Halle Berry.jpegThe Huffington Post published a story stating that actor Halle Berry cancelled a movie role which was to start shooting in New York at this time. The cancellation was tied to her desire to more actively participate in the child custody dispute that is building between herself and her ex Gabriel Aubry. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney I handle and my La Jolla Family Law office handles many child custody cases. Details are lacking in this report; however, possibly, by this report, we are informed that Ms. Berry is very serious about the child custody issue and that she will diligently work with her family law lawyer to prepare for the custody litigation. This is exactly what my office would want from a client.

In a follow up story from The Huffington Post, the report is that the child custody case is beginning to take shape centered around allegations that the young child "cries hysterically" and acting out when the father, Mr. Aubry, comes to pick up the child for his parenting time. It has been my experience that a child acting out, at this child's young age (age 3), raises issues of (one the one hand) child abuse, and (on the other hand) parental alienation. If the allegation is true, an evaluation as to the cause of the child's reaction should commence.

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January 27, 2011

Mom's San Diego Move Away Motion Denied

Justia-photo-84 Coachella Valley.jpegYou can find the unpublished appellate decision of In Re Marriage of McCown here. "Unpublished" means that this case cannot be cited in court as any legal authority; however it is always a good exercise to read and analyze appellate court opinions to understand how certain child custody decisions are reached. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist my office handles many child custody move away cases. These cases are also known as child custody relocation cases. Specifically, these cases involve a custodial parent's decision to move away, or relocate to another area, with the minor child or children. If the other parent opposes the relocation, a motion is filed in the family law court to permit the move and the court rules on whether the custodial parent may move the children.

In the unpublished McCown case, the mom argued that she was the custodial parent. Dad had visitation on the first, third and fifth weekends of every month. The family law trial was located in the Coachella Valley (Riverside County). Mom's new Husband was a pilot in the military and he was stationed at Miramar in San Diego (a military base located down the road, east of my La Jolla Family Law Office). The dad objected to the move stating that the child had always lived in the Coachella Valley where the child was very involved with the relatives on the Father's side of the family. The court appointed mediator (similar to the Family Court Services mediator of the San Diego Family Court) opined that the child was doing well under the parenting order but did not make a recommendation as to the move away request. The court found that it was in the best interest of the child to remain in Coachella Valley.

According to this decision the mom would have to remain living in Coachella Valley rather than to move to San Diego County where she would reside with her new Husband. Mom appealed the court's decision to the Fourth District, Division Two, Court of Appeals.

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December 21, 2010

San Diego Divorce: Family Law Changes for 2011

Justia-photo-79 Christmas.jpgDecember 20, 2010: Year 2010 is almost over. What will be improved about the San Diego family law system in 2011? Here is the news at this time. The court budget will be limited; likely the court calendar will be overloaded and this means that hearing times in court may be delayed and limited. Nevertheless, approximately 50% of the parties to a family law case will leave the courtroom encouraged and approximately 50% leave discouraged.

San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorneys are analyzing The Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Report and this report will bring about many changes as to how cases are heard in court. Essentially, requests that present a legitimate reason for oral testimony will likely be granted. This will add to the case time estimates and the level of expertise required to handle a contested case in court. La Jolla divorce attorneys are pouring over the new laws set to take effect on January 1, 2011. So exactly how will changes in the family court system affect you?

After many years of working as an AV rated attorney, I have come to the conclusion that it is the job of my office, the lawyers in the office and the staff to know and understand the changes in the law so that we may cause these changes to benefit our clients. We are not advocates of any particular legal philosophy; we don't lobby for changes in the law; it is simply our job to understand how to best operate under a system with changing policies and laws that we cannot control. So what can you control that will benefit you and/or your legal matter in 2011?


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November 14, 2010

San Diego Divorce Report: Marriage and Children

Justia-photo-71 Berkely.jpegIn the last article posted by this blog, we considered how divorce can significantly affect children. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney for more than 30 years I have seen children hurt in the divorce process. However, I don't join in with those who say that divorce is bad and it must be stopped or made more difficult to obtain. Divorce is permitted because people are flawed. In some cases, people are bad or even evil. Divorce is a tool allowing correction and relief in these cases. The tool should be allowed even though its misused by some.

Approximately 30 years ago a psychologist, Judith Wallerstein, started conducting studies concerning children and divorce. Her studies became controversial when her opinions started to affect California divorce and child custody legislation and court decisions. Often her opinions were misunderstood leading to controversial results. However, all of these years later, she is still garnering attention regarding her views. The Huffington Post recently published an article by journalist Katie Hafner involving questions to, and answers from, Dr. Wallerstein regarding her twenty five year study of children involved in California divorces.

Judith Wallerstein is a psychologist. She is now 88 years old. She was a senior lecturer at the School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley. She is shown in the video below providing thoughts, along with other professionals, as to how to make marriage better.

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October 7, 2010

San Diego Child Custody News--Birth Required

Justia-photo-67 baby.jpegI work as a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney in a Family Law office located in La Jolla that only handles legal cases in that area of law know as Family Law. We handle many child custody cases and cases involving one parent's move-away, relocation or move-apart decision involving a child of the relationship. However, it seems too simplistic to say that at the start of our work in the legal service industry, someone made a choice for birth, or life as some would say.

The Money Central at MSN tells us how expensive it is to raise a child to the age of 18 -- $170,000 to $250,000 for most families. These parents must have a job so that they can pay their landlord or bank for their housing; their grocer, their car salesperson, medical doctors, nurses, school educators who work with our children, clothing store owners and many, many others. And as a result of all of this society is functioning is it not? Families are working and people throughout every segment of society are put to work by this simple decision to give life.

This leads to two stories. The first took place here in San Diego California, as reported by journalist Debbie Baker for the San Diego Union involving a mom who showed up at a fire station to turn over her newly born child under the SSB law (Safely Surrendered Baby implemented in the State of California in 2001. Under this law, if you have legal custody of the child, within 72 hours of the baby's birth the parent may turn the child over to a designated safe site and have the right to reclaim the baby for a limited period of time if the parent changes his/her mind. This is so much better for all of the service providers mentioned above, not to mention the baby, to deposit the child at a safe location, as opposed to a garbage bin.

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