Child Custody and Visitation
Child Custody is the area of our practice in California which gives us the most opportunity to problem solve. All of our efforts are devoted to the following:
- Helping our clients determine what they believe is in the best interests of the children (which is often NOT in the best interests of the parents).
- Giving our clients tools and resources to de-escalate conflict and keep the children out of the middle of the conflict.
- Assist our clients in good co-parenting techniques (including utilizing the services of mental health professionals who specialize in co-parenting counseling and/or custody mediation).
- Helping our clients to understand the custody process and the fact that litigation should be the LAST resort.
- Supporting our client's efforts to take the "high road" and to work with the other parent in a conciliatory and appropriate manner - even if that means making a concession which would not otherwise be made simply to avoid conflict (i.e., changing an exchange time for a visit).
Because we represent children by Court appointment in high conflict custody cases, we see first hand the effect that the parents' conflict has on the children. We have been most fortunate to represent many older children so that we have been able to discuss with them their perspective and the effect that their parents' conflict has had on them.
We do NOT claim to know what is best for our clients' children other than the following: it is BEST for children when their parents do not fight and do not expose children to conflict. In many ways this completely simplifies our job in the child custody area. ALL of our efforts are designed to lessen conflict including requesting at times that our clients make concessions they would not normally (intuitively) make. If, however, a client feels strongly about NOT making such a concession and understands that conflict will escalate, then we will sincerely evaluate that position. Sometimes, where a child is at risk due to the conduct of the other parent, conflict is inevitable and then the safety of the child outweighs the need to avoid conflict between the parents.