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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Types of Child Custody Orders

Child custody orders determine the legal authority and responsibilities of parents or guardians regarding the care, upbringing, and decision-making for their children. These orders can vary depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the family, and they may include various types of custody arrangements. Here are some common types of child custody orders:

1. Legal Custody

  1. Joint Legal Custody:
    • Both parents share the authority to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
    • Joint legal custody does not necessarily require equal parenting time or physical custody.
  2. Sole Legal Custody:
    • One parent has the sole authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing without input from the other parent.
    • Sole legal custody may be awarded if one parent is deemed unfit or if there is a history of conflict or inability to cooperate between the parents.

2. Physical Custody

  1. Joint Physical Custody:
    • The child spends significant time living with both parents, and they share physical custody of the child.
    • Joint physical custody arrangements may be equal (50/50) or substantially shared, depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the family.
  2. Sole Physical Custody:
    • The child primarily resides with one parent, and the other parent may have visitation rights or parenting time according to a schedule determined by the court.
    • Sole physical custody may be awarded if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child or if one parent is unable to provide a stable and suitable living environment.

3. Split Custody

  1. Split Custody:
    • In split custody arrangements, siblings are divided between the parents, with each parent having primary physical custody of at least one child.
    • Split custody arrangements are relatively rare and may be considered if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the children involved.

4. Bird’s Nest Custody

  1. Bird’s Nest Custody:
    • In bird’s nest custody, the child remains in the family home, and the parents take turns living with the child according to a set schedule.
    • This arrangement allows the child to maintain stability in their living environment while the parents rotate in and out of the home.

5. Temporary Custody Orders

  1. Temporary Custody Orders:
    • Temporary custody orders may be issued by the court during the pendency of a divorce or custody dispute to establish custody arrangements until a final decision can be made.
    • These orders are intended to provide stability and structure for the family while the legal process is ongoing.

Conclusion

Child custody orders are tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each family and are designed to promote the best interests of the child. The type of custody order issued by the court will depend on factors such as the child’s age and preferences, the parents’ ability to cooperate, and any history of abuse or neglect. It’s essential for parents to understand their rights and responsibilities under the custody order and to work together in the best interests of their children

Fathers Rights During Pregnancy
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Fathers Rights During Pregnancy

The rights of fathers during pregnancy can vary depending on legal jurisdiction and the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy. In general, fathers typically have certain rights and responsibilities during pregnancy, including:

  1. Legal Paternity Rights: If the father is legally recognized as the child’s father, he may have certain rights regarding custody, visitation, and decision-making regarding the child’s upbringing. Establishing paternity can vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction.
  2. Support Obligations: Fathers are typically obligated to provide financial support for their child, including during pregnancy. This can include expenses related to prenatal care and childbirth.
  3. Medical Decision-making: In some jurisdictions, fathers may have the right to be involved in medical decisions related to the pregnancy and childbirth, particularly if they are married to the mother or if paternity has been legally established.
  4. Emotional Support and Involvement: Regardless of legal rights, many fathers choose to be actively involved in the pregnancy and childbirth process, providing emotional support to the mother and participating in prenatal appointments and childbirth classes.
  5. Parental Leave: Some jurisdictions provide paternity leave or other forms of parental leave that allow fathers to take time off work to support their partner during pregnancy and to bond with their newborn child after birth.

Does A Father Have Rights To An Unborn Child?

The extent of a father’s legal rights to an unborn child can vary depending on jurisdiction and specific circumstances. Generally, fathers do not have legal rights to an unborn child in the same way that they do to a child who has been born. However, once the child is born, assuming paternity is established, fathers typically have rights and responsibilities related to custody, visitation, and support.

Before the child is born, fathers may have limited legal rights, but they may still have certain responsibilities, such as providing financial support for the mother’s prenatal care and childbirth expenses. Some jurisdictions allow fathers to seek custody or visitation rights before the child is born through legal processes such as paternity establishment or seeking court orders.

In cases where the father and mother are married or in a legally recognized partnership, the father may have more rights and involvement in decisions related to the pregnancy and childbirth. However, if the parents are unmarried and paternity has not been established, the father’s rights may be more limited.

Establishing Legal Parenthood For Fathers

Establishing legal parenthood for fathers typically involves a few key steps, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity: In many places, if the parents are unmarried, they can establish paternity voluntarily by signing a legal document called an Acknowledgment of Paternity. This document is typically available at hospitals, birthing centers, or vital records offices. Both parents must sign the document, and it is usually filed with the appropriate government agency to establish the father’s legal rights and responsibilities.
  2. Genetic Testing: If there is a dispute about paternity or if the mother disputes the father’s claim of paternity, genetic testing may be required. DNA testing can conclusively determine whether a man is the biological father of a child. Courts may order genetic testing if paternity is in question, and the results of the test can be used to establish legal parenthood.
  3. Court Order: In some cases, particularly if paternity is disputed or if one parent is unwilling to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, it may be necessary to seek a court order to establish legal parenthood. This typically involves filing a petition with the court requesting a determination of paternity. The court may order genetic testing and, if the results confirm paternity, issue an order establishing the father’s legal rights and responsibilities.
  4. Marriage: If the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is typically presumed to be the legal father of the child. However, this presumption can be rebutted if there is evidence to the contrary, such as proof of infertility or evidence of another man’s paternity.

Once legal parenthood is established, the father typically has rights and responsibilities regarding custody, visitation, and financial support for the child. It’s important for fathers to understand their rights and obligations under the law and to seek legal advice if they have questions or concerns about establishing legal parenthood.

What Is A Father’s Financial Responsibility During Pregnancy?

A father’s financial responsibility during pregnancy can vary depending on factors such as legal jurisdiction, the relationship between the parents, and individual circumstances. However, some common financial responsibilities that fathers may have during pregnancy include:

  1. Medical Expenses: Fathers may be responsible for contributing to the costs of prenatal care, including doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, lab tests, and medications. This can also include expenses related to childbirth, such as hospital bills and delivery costs.
  2. Health Insurance Coverage: If the father has health insurance that covers dependents, he may be responsible for adding the mother and unborn child to his insurance policy to help cover medical expenses related to the pregnancy and childbirth.
  3. Supporting the Mother: Fathers may be expected to provide financial support to the mother during pregnancy to help cover living expenses and other necessities. This can include contributing to rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and other household expenses.
  4. Childbirth Classes and Other Preparations: Fathers may be responsible for sharing the costs of childbirth classes, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes, and other expenses related to preparing for the baby’s arrival.
  5. Unforeseen Expenses: Fathers should also be prepared to help cover any unexpected expenses that arise during pregnancy, such as medical emergencies or complications that require additional financial resources.

It’s important for both parents to communicate openly about financial responsibilities during pregnancy and to work together to ensure that the needs of both the mother and unborn child are met. In cases where the parents are unmarried or separated, legal agreements or court orders may be necessary to establish financial obligations and ensure that both parents contribute appropriately to the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Can You Not Tell The Father You Are Pregnant?

Deciding when and how to share such news can be a deeply personal matter, and there might be various reasons why someone may choose not to tell the father about a pregnancy right away. It’s essential to consider the circumstances and implications carefully.

If you’re in a situation where you’re hesitant to tell the father, it might be helpful to reflect on why that is and whether there are concerns that need addressing. Keeping such news from the father could potentially lead to complications down the road, so it’s essential to approach the situation with care and honesty, whenever you feel ready. If you need advice or support, don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Can You Have A Baby And Not Tell The Father?

Yes, it is possible for someone to have a baby and choose not to tell the father about the pregnancy or the child. There could be various reasons for this decision, such as concerns about the father’s involvement, personal safety, or other complex circumstances.

However, it’s important to consider the potential long-term implications of such a decision, both for the child and for the relationship between the child and the father. In many cases, maintaining open communication and transparency can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved, even if the situation is challenging.

If you’re considering not telling the father about a pregnancy or a child, it might be helpful to seek guidance from trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can offer support and perspective on your specific circumstances.

After the baby is born, you are not entitled to make decisions regarding the child if you are not the biological parent or do not have custody. However, if you have sole or joint legal custody, you are in a position to decide on important aspects of their upbringing. Create a newborn custody agreement to specify the responsibilities of each parent. Make use of a parenting plan template as a reference. It can be drafted while you are pregnant, and once the baby is born, the court can approve it.

Signing Over Parental Rights Of An Unborn Child

Signing over parental rights of an unborn child is a complex legal matter and the specifics can vary greatly depending on jurisdiction. In many places, it’s not possible to sign over parental rights to an unborn child because legal parental rights generally come into effect after the child is born. However, there might be options for relinquishing parental rights after birth through processes like adoption or termination of parental rights.

If you’re considering such a step, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in family law. They can provide guidance on the relevant laws in your jurisdiction and help you understand your rights and options. Additionally, it’s important to consider the potential emotional and practical implications of such a decision, both for yourself and for the child. Talking to a counselor or therapist can also be beneficial in navigating these complex issues.

Father’ Rights In Abortion

The topic of fathers’ rights in the context of abortion is complex and intersects with legal, ethical, and social dimensions. Here’s an overview of the key aspects:

Legal Perspective

  1. Current Legal Framework:
    • In most jurisdictions, the legal right to decide whether to have an abortion resides with the pregnant woman. This stems from the recognition of bodily autonomy and privacy rights.
    • The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973) established the constitutional right to privacy, which includes a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This decision was modified by the 2022 case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which returned the power to regulate abortion to individual states, but did not explicitly grant fathers any decision-making power.
  2. Paternity Rights:
    • Fathers generally have rights concerning their children once they are born, including custody, visitation, and child support. However, these rights do not typically extend to decisions about abortion.
  3. State Variations:
    • Some states have attempted to introduce laws requiring that fathers be notified of or consent to an abortion, but these have generally been struck down as unconstitutional.

Ethical and Social Considerations

  1. Bodily Autonomy:
    • The principle of bodily autonomy supports the idea that individuals should have control over their own bodies, which includes making decisions about pregnancy.
  2. Parental Responsibilities and Interests:
    • Some argue that fathers should have a say in abortion decisions because they have a stake in the potential life of the child. However, this interest is often seen as secondary to the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy.
  3. Relationship Dynamics:
    • The dynamics of the relationship between the parents can also affect opinions on this issue. In some cases, men may feel they should have a say, especially if they are in a committed relationship. Conversely, in situations involving abuse or coercion, giving fathers more rights could endanger the pregnant woman.

Advocacy and Movements

  1. Men’s Rights Groups:
    • Some men’s rights groups advocate for increased paternal rights in abortion decisions. They argue for equal say in the decision-making process or at least for fathers to be notified.
  2. Reproductive Rights Groups:
    • Groups advocating for reproductive rights typically emphasize the importance of protecting women’s autonomy and ensuring access to abortion without additional hurdles, including mandatory notification or consent from fathers.

The rights of fathers in the context of abortion remain a contentious issue. While fathers have significant rights and responsibilities regarding their children post-birth, the prevailing legal and ethical frameworks prioritize the pregnant woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. This balance reflects broader principles of bodily autonomy and privacy, even as debates continue about the appropriate roles and rights of fathers in these deeply personal and complex decisions.

Can A Father Stop A Pregnant Mother From Moving?

The ability of a father to prevent a pregnant mother from moving depends on various legal and contextual factors. Generally, it is difficult for a father to legally stop a pregnant mother from relocating, especially before the child is born. Here are key points to consider:

Legal Context

  1. Rights During Pregnancy:
    • Autonomy of the Pregnant Woman: During pregnancy, the legal rights of the mother over her body and movement are typically prioritized. Courts generally do not impose restrictions on a pregnant woman’s right to move or relocate.
    • Legal Status of the Fetus: In many jurisdictions, a fetus does not have separate legal rights independent of the pregnant woman. Consequently, the father does not have legal grounds to control the movements of the pregnant mother based on the unborn child’s interests.
  2. Post-Birth Considerations:
    • Custody and Visitation Rights: Once the child is born, both parents’ rights and responsibilities come into play. If the mother moves before the child is born, custody and visitation arrangements will be established based on the location of the parents at that time.
    • Impact on Custody: If a mother relocates during pregnancy and the father wishes to be involved in the child’s life, the distance may impact future custody and visitation arrangements. Courts generally consider the best interests of the child when making these decisions, which includes maintaining relationships with both parents.

Factors Influencing Court Decisions

  1. Best Interests of the Child:
    • Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions. They consider factors such as the child’s stability, the parents’ ability to cooperate, and the child’s relationship with each parent.
  2. Mother’s Reason for Moving:
    • If the mother’s relocation is motivated by valid reasons (e.g., employment opportunities, support from family, safety concerns), courts may view the move more favorably.
  3. Father’s Involvement:
    • The father’s level of involvement and commitment to the child can influence court decisions. Demonstrating a desire to be actively involved in the child’s life can be a significant factor.

Practical Considerations

  1. Communication and Cooperation:
    • Open communication and cooperation between parents can help manage the implications of a move. If possible, discussing and negotiating terms that consider both parents’ roles can lead to more amicable arrangements.
  2. Legal Advice:
    • Both parents should seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations. Family law attorneys can provide guidance specific to their jurisdiction and circumstances.

Before the child is born, it is generally challenging for a father to legally prevent a pregnant mother from moving. The mother’s autonomy and the absence of separate legal rights for the fetus support her freedom to relocate. However, once the child is born, custody and visitation arrangements will consider the best interests of the child, which may include maintaining relationships with both parents. Communication, cooperation, and legal counsel are crucial in navigating these situations.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Parallel Parenting: Making a Plan and Getting Started

Parallel Parenting: Making a Plan and Getting Started

Parallel parenting is a co-parenting approach designed for high-conflict situations where parents have difficulty communicating and cooperating with each other. It allows parents to disengage from each other and focus solely on the needs of their children. Here are steps to create a parallel parenting plan and get started:

  1. Understand Parallel Parenting: Educate yourself about parallel parenting and its principles. Recognize that it’s a temporary solution for high-conflict situations and focuses on minimizing direct contact between parents while ensuring the children’s well-being.
  2. Develop a Parenting Plan: Create a detailed parenting plan that outlines the custody schedule, decision-making responsibilities, communication protocols, and guidelines for resolving disputes. Specify how you will handle holidays, vacations, school events, medical appointments, and other important matters.
  3. Minimize Direct Contact: Establish methods for communication that minimize direct contact between parents. Consider using communication tools such as email, text messaging, or co-parenting apps that allow for asynchronous communication and provide a record of interactions.
  4. Set Boundaries: Define clear boundaries and expectations for communication and interaction. Agree on topics that are off-limits for discussion and commit to respecting each other’s privacy and personal space.
  5. Focus on the Children: Keep the children’s best interests at the forefront of your decision-making. Prioritize their emotional well-being and strive to create a stable and nurturing environment for them.
  6. Respect Court Orders: Adhere to any court orders or legal agreements related to custody, visitation, and parenting responsibilities. Follow the terms outlined in the parenting plan and seek legal advice if modifications are necessary.
  7. Seek Support: Reach out to professionals, such as therapists, mediators, or family counselors, who specialize in high-conflict co-parenting situations. Consider joining support groups or seeking guidance from trusted friends and family members.
  8. Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Engage in activities that reduce stress and promote relaxation. Practice effective coping strategies and seek professional help if needed.
  9. Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess the effectiveness of the parallel parenting arrangement and make adjustments as needed. Be open to revisiting and modifying the parenting plan to address changing circumstances or concerns.
  10. Stay Committed: Commit to making parallel parenting work for the well-being of your children, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Stay focused on creating a positive co-parenting environment that allows your children to thrive despite the conflict between parents.

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Not To Do During a Custody Battle

What Not To Do During a Custody Battle

Knowing what not to do during a custody battle and what the judge will look for can help you prepare the best case possible. While some missteps like lying in court are obvious, you might not have considered some actions that can hurt your case.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Preparing For Court

Don’t lie in child custody court

What you say in court and the information you include on court forms must be true. Lying in court during a child custody case ruins your credibility.

The judge will look for the truth in each parent’s claims through custody evaluations, witness testimony and other evidence presented at trial. Lying in court during a child custody case could cause a parent to lose custody or be held responsible for paying the other parent’s legal fees.

Don’t refuse to participate in the case

Since court cases are often stressful and expensive, you might feel tempted to ignore the case altogether. Yet not taking part in a custody case could cause you to miss out on time with your child.

If you don’t answer the other parent’s filing, the court could issue a default judgment against you. This means the other parent would get everything they asked for without any input from you.

During your case, you’ll receive mailings that require a response, such as requests for documents and notices to appear in court. Ignoring these could lead to the dismissal of your case. Make sure you don’t leave the city or state for an extended period as these documents are typically sent to your last known address or workplace.

Don’t disrespect the other parent

One thing the judge will look for in a child custody case is whether a parent will encourage a relationship between their ex and the child. Disrespecting the other parent shows that you might not be capable of doing so.

Insults directed at your ex through social media, calls, texts and emails could all impact the verdict. You also shouldn’t make negative comments about your ex in front of others. What you say could come to light in court through witness testimony.

Don’t abuse alcohol or drugs

Substance abuse is a major mark against a parent in a custody battle. When you’re under the influence, you can’t be the parent your child needs — especially if you’re dependent on that substance to get through the day. Make responsible choices to show the court you’re fit to parent.

Don’t withhold your child

Withholding your child from the other parent is unique compared to other things not to do during a custody battle because it comes with a caveat: Keeping the child away from the other parent might be your only choice if the parent presents a clear danger.

When there aren’t any safety risks, denying the other parent access to the child will reflect poorly on you. Courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child’s life and want to see that you can encourage a positive relationship between your child and your ex.

Don’t involve your child in the case

Your child may be the subject of the custody battle, but putting them in the middle will cause undue stress.

Spare them the details of the case, and turn the focus toward maintaining the routines the child is used to and spending quality time together. Distractions from what’s going on in the household like extracurriculars are particularly helpful in allowing some sense of normalcy.

Don’t bring new partners into your child’s life

Bringing a new partner into your child’s life is an often overlooked example of what not to do during a child custody battle. Your child will be in a fragile state during this time. A new partner could cause confusion and anger if your child assumes you’re trying to replace their other parent.

If you do have a new partner, don’t involve them in the case. Judges often frown upon parents who bring their partners to court because their presence could be a distraction. Outside of court, keep interactions between your partner and your ex to a minimum. Any confrontations that occur could help your ex’s case.

Don’t push for a trial without trying to compromise

Trial should be a last resort after all other attempts at a resolution have failed. Stay in charge of parenting decisions and jump-start your co-parenting relationship by negotiating a settlement with the other parent. If you find it difficult to resolve your differences with just the two of you, try an alternative dispute resolution method.

Don’t show up to court unprepared

Preparation is key in a custody battle. You’ll need to be ready to speak in front of the judge, propose a parenting plan and present solid evidence to back up your claims. If you have a lawyer, they will help you prepare.

If you represent yourself, review your state’s child custody laws and rules of evidence to avoid presenting evidence that the court cannot consider. For example, in some states, recording phone conversations without the other person’s permission is illegal. Illegally-obtained recordings hurt your credibility and can’t be used in court.

Don’t behave badly in the courtroom

Your behavior in the courtroom will have an impact on the final verdict. In a custody case, the judge will look at each parent’s actions in the courtroom as a reflection of their character.

Don’t talk out of turn or get into arguments with the other parent. Treat everyone in the courtroom and in the courthouse with respect.

Don’t disregard court orders

Temporary orders are often part of divorce and custody cases. These orders stay in effect until the court issues final orders.

If you have court orders for child support or visitation, make sure you follow them. Not doing so shows a lack of respect for the court and that you may not be capable of following the final custody order.

Also, don’t get into the habit of rescheduling time with your kids. Show up on time for pickups, and drop your child off as scheduled to show the court you can adhere to orders. Only stray from the order if absolutely necessary, and give the other parent proper notice.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Both judges are evaluators of child custody will seek the parent whose actions are positive and promote the relationships between the child or children and both parents. it is vital a parent never appears to be in a mode or retaliation or be vindictive or use financial issues as a weapon in matters of child custody. Therefore, parental alienation happens when a parent is guilty of causing a child or children to be negatively influenced towards the other parent of the child or children. On occasions this behavior can be unintentional but if often intentional and it is worth remembering parental alienation is not only a weapon used by one gender. Parental alienation is not gender specific any either parent is equally able to indulge in this destructive pattern of behavior should they wish to do so.

Parental Alienation Examples

There are many ways a child or children can be manipulated when one parent carries out acts of parental alienation. The goal is normally to separate the emotional bond a parent has with the child or children. The parent can do this by making negative comments about the parent directly to the child or children or to third parties but by ensuring the child or children can hear what is being said. These comments can have a great influence on a child or children who if they hear negative comments on a regular basis, become more credible and believable to the young minds who hear it. In the end, the result is often the child or children sees the other parent in the manner the way the accusatory parent has presented the situation to them.

Additionally, other members of the family may also join the accusatory parent in making alienating comments and actions towards the other parent in front of the child or children. These do not have to be outrageous statements, but just small comments and actions can help to cement negative thoughts towards the other parent. Nonetheless, with alienating, it is more often than not that not just one act or statement is negative, but usually the result of many small comments made over a prolonged period of time.

Signs of Parental Alienation

As we have discussed it is seldom one single action represents parental alienation but a series of actions and words and thoughts that manipulate a child or children negatively impact a parents’ relationship with their child or children. Undoubtedly some tactics used in parental alienation are extremely harmful but never more so than when a parent accuses the other of criminal activity. Especially when they do this in front of a child or children. This is a matter that needs to be acted on immediately. Here are some signs to look for that your child or children may be the victim of parental alienation:

  • Is a parent creating scenarios where the child or children misses when it is your time for visitation?
  • Has the attitude of your child or children changed from one of being pleased to see you to one of being angry towards you?
  • Does your child or children no longer use a familiar, informal name for you?
  • Does your child or children show signs of being uncomfortable around you?
  • Does your child or children only give very brief, monosyllabic answers?
  • Does the other parent turn up unexpectedly, creating drama and tension when there is no need to do so?
  • Does the other parent severely question the child or children following your visitation?
  • Does the other parent show resentment when you discuss enjoyable times with your child or children?
  • Does the child know matters regarding the divorce beyond what they need to know at their age?
  • Does it appear your parenting time is being cut short, altered or canceled at short notice?

There are three types of parental alienation.

 

  • Mild parental alienation: The child avoids contacting the alienated parent, but has a good relationship with them when the alienator is not around.
  • Moderate parental alienation: The child strongly resists contact with the alienated parent and is resentful when they do spend time together.
  • Severe parental alienation: The child insists on not having contact with the alienated parent. They may hide or run away to avoid being around the parent. In these cases, the alienator is determined to ruin the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Signs of parental alienation

Five factors help identify PA.

 

  • The child actively avoids, resists or refuses a relationship with the nonpreferred parent.
  • The child and nonpreferred parent once had a positive relationship.
  • The nonpreferred parent displays no abusive, neglectful or bad parenting behaviors.
  • The child shows many of the behaviors associated with parental alienation (more below).
  • The preferred parent shows multiple alienating behaviors (more below).

Behaviors of a child affected by parental alienation

A child affected by parental alienation may show eight behaviors. It’s important to note that these can also occur without parental manipulation.

 

  • Unfair criticism of the alienated parent (known as a campaign of denigration)
  • Unjustified harsh feelings toward the alienated parent
  • Exclusively negative feelings toward the alienated parent and only good feelings toward the alienator (known as a lack of ambivalence)
  • Insistence that all of their negative feelings and criticisms are their own (called the independent thinker phenomenon)
  • Consistent support of the alienator
  • Repetition of language and false stories told by the alienator
  • Lack of guilt about their hatred or mistreatment of the alienated parent
  • Extension of their dislike of the alienated parent to the alienated parent’s relatives

Behaviors of an alienating parent

An alienator’s behaviors may include:

 

  • Sharing personal information with the child (e.g., the other parent’s infidelities)
  • Preventing the child from talking to or visiting the alienated parent
  • Planning activities that they know will interfere with the alienated parent’s visitation time
  • Disobeying the parenting plan or refusing to negotiate a plan with the other parent
  • Hiding important information from the other parent (e.g., the child’s report card or medical records)
  • Monitoring all contact between the child and the alienated parent

It has been suggested that parents with behavioral issues like narcissistic personality disorder are more likely to be alienators. Though many people assume it’s more common for a mother to use a child against a father, parental alienation against a mother can also occur.

What to do about parental alienation

If you suspect parental alienation, seek professional help. It’s best to be proactive because the more severe PA becomes, the harder it is to treat.

A mediator, therapist, family counselor or child psychologist could help you figure out whether alienation is occurring and come up with a plan to improve your relationship with your child.

More research is needed to find a safe and effective treatment for PA. Current responses depend on the level of alienation.

  • Mild parental alienation: A judge could order parents to allow one another to have a healthy relationship with the child.
  • Moderate parental alienation: A parenting coordinator could help to reduce conflict and improve communication. Both parents and the child could also go to counseling. None of this will be effective if the alienator refuses to take part and continues alienating the child.
  • Severe parental alienation: The alienator might lose custody and only have supervised visits, while the child might have to attend reconciliation therapy with the alienated parent. This treatment may have negative side effects.

Parental Alienation Laws in Arizona & Effect on Child Custody (Legal Decision Making)

Title 25’s legal decision-making laws were last modified a couple of years ago when the Arizona state legislature decided it will be the responsibility of the court to engage both parents in the raising of a child or children. In light of this, clearly parental alienation is recognized as being a cause of damage to a child or children. When one parent has an established history of using parental alienation, it is less than likely they will be able to come to an agreement regarding parenting time or putting the best interests of the child or children first. In some cases, not even the use of lawyers or mediators assist in getting to this goal.

In such circumstances, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child or children. To make that determination, the judge will review  Arizona Code section 25-403.

The court is going to examine what parent is more likely to allow frequent, meaningful and continued custody with the other parent. So parental alienation can definitely count against a parent in these circumstances. The court may decide the child or children should be spend additional time with the other parent who is not involved in the practice of alienation tactics. In some circumstances, this alienation crosses a line into custodial interference where one parent violates current custody orders. In Arizona, this is considered a felony offense with possible jail time.

Source: “Parental Alienation.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/child-custody/parental-alienation/

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist: Tips and Strategies

Parental Alienation In Arizona

While co-parenting can be difficult, it might seem unachievable if your ex is a narcissist.

Regretfully, you are aware of how a narcissist prioritizes their own self-interest over their parental duties and disregards the welfare of their children. You know how they deceive, how they manipulate, how they abuse emotions in an attempt to gain respect and control.

Additionally, if you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’re probably coping with the fallout from a highly contentious custody dispute and attempting to work out a complicated custody arrangement.

But don’t give up—if you have the correct attitude and parenting resources, you can create plans to lessen conflict and successfully co-parent with a narcissist.

Narcissism: What is it?

When sharing custody with a narcissistic ex, it’s critical to understand exactly what narcissism is. This makes it easier for you to deal with them and lessen the harm they cause to your child by enabling you to understand what drives their behavior.

Narcissism is more than just a propensity for selfishness or self-centeredness; rather, it is an extreme form of self-involvement in which the individual is indifferent to the needs of others or the consequences of their actions.

Remember that a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not the same as someone who just has a narcissistic personality. NPD is a mental health condition that a psychiatrist or psychologist will diagnose. An individual must continuously display at least five of the following characteristics in order to be diagnosed with NPD:

  • Excessively lofty and conceited feeling of importance
    Obsession with grandiose fantasies Belief in their own superiority over others
    Excessive need for validation, praise, and adoration
    Possession of rights and anticipation of favorable treatment
    Lack of empathy and unwillingness to take other people’s feelings into account Believing that other people are envious of them
    Extreme conceit and snobbishness. While exhibiting any of the aforementioned behaviors on a regular basis, a person with narcissistic personality traits may not fit the NPD diagnostic criteria or receive an official diagnosis.

Thinking of narcissism as a spectrum, with narcissistic personality disorder at the other end, and someone with a few narcissistic traits that negatively impact others at the other, can be helpful. Your co-parenting techniques take into account your ex’s particular behaviors, where they are on the spectrum, and the dynamics of your relationship.

A narcissistic parent: what is it?

A narcissistic parent puts themselves before their child; rather than fostering the child’s growth into a mentally sound adult, a narcissistic parent is only interested in utilizing the child to further their own self-serving agenda.

Instead of viewing their child as an individual, a narcissistic parent views them as an extension of themselves. When their child doesn’t live up to their irrational expectations, they frequently try to live through them and punish them. Their child’s independence and interactions with other people, particularly with the other parent, make them feel threatened and possessive. On the other hand, a narcissistic parent may be careless or even completely ignore their child if they are unable to use them to further their own agendas.

Narcissists are erratic people who frequently lose their cool and become furious with their kids and other people. To increase their own sense of value, they purposefully undermine their child’s confidence and sense of self-worth. In order to get their way, they frequently lie, guilt-trip, gaslight, and employ other emotional manipulation techniques. They can also become obsessed with controlling both their child and their co-parent.

Children who grow up with a narcissistic parent face serious, lifelong psychological consequences such as low self-esteem, internalized guilt and shame, and trouble developing safe emotional attachments.

Strategies for co-parenting with a narcissist

You must approach co-parenting like a business partnership in order to effectively share custody with a narcissist: create clear guidelines, impose strict boundaries, and keep meticulous records of everything. In addition, you must learn how to be an emotionally detached parent, learn how to talk to narcissists and ignore them, and detach emotionally from your child.

Make a thorough parenting strategy.

The rules governing the division of parenting duties between co-parents are outlined in a parenting plan. Experts always advise having a parenting plan, and the majority of states mandate them as part of custody orders.

One of the most crucial things you can do to make co-parenting with your narcissistic ex manageable is to have a comprehensive, personalized plan that gives you the ability to set firm boundaries with them.

Specifically crafted to meet your child’s needs, your plan should shield both you and your child from the negative impacts of your ex’s narcissism. It ought to contain particular clauses and requirements for every facet of co-parenting, such as:

  • Guidelines for communication (between parents and between each parent and the child when they are alone)
    shared parenting principles, including rules about screen time, bedtimes, curfews, and punishment.
    Guidelines for making decisions regarding the education, health care, and religious upbringing of your child
    Procedures for resolving disputes when you can’t agree on shared parenting decisions
    Guidelines for allocating parenting costs that your child support order does not cover
    regulations prohibiting parents from disparaging one another in front of their children, using them to exchange information, or using them to learn more about one another
    Are there any additional guidelines to support a positive co-parenting dynamic and safeguard your child’s welfare?
    There are standard plans that you can or must use in many family courts, along with guidelines for what information to include. But in high-conflict situations, these templates are rarely comprehensive enough—particularly when one of the parents is a narcissist.

You must have a thorough plan to manage and prevent conflict with a narcissist because they will likely seize any opportunity to control and manipulate. If your court permits it, you may submit your own customized parenting plan in addition to adding special provisions to the standard plan. (You can easily complete both using Custody X Change’s parenting plan template.)

Parenting plans are only enforceable by courts if they are formally declared by a judge. Ask your court to make your supplemental provisions or custom parenting plan into a court order during the legal process (i.e., during a trial or settlement). In the absence of a court order, a parenting plan is merely an unofficial agreement that parents are expected to follow, which is unlikely for a narcissist to do.

Adhere to a thorough parenting timetable.

The physical custody arrangement—when the child will be with each parent—is explained in a parenting time schedule. It is also known as a visitation, residential, or time-sharing schedule and is frequently included in a parenting plan.

The rules of your local court and the custody laws in your state will determine how specific your schedule needs to be. Sometimes, family courts just mandate a parenting time division (such as a 50/50 split) and leave it up to the parents to work out a detailed schedule on their own. When you co-parent with a narcissist, you should avoid doing this because they will use any room for maneuvering to gain more control and manipulation over you and your child.

Rather, you ought to have a comprehensive parenting timetable that takes into account your child’s needs, specifies the beginning and ending times of each visit, and lays out ground rules for the times and locations of interactions. In the majority of states, courts will impose strict physical custody orders on both parents in the event of a high-conflict custody dispute or at the request of one parent. The other parent may request that the court enforce or amend the custody orders if the other parent doesn’t comply.

Plan to spend less time with the other parent when creating your custody schedule (either as part of a settlement or as a request in court). Less time spent interacting with your ex and fewer exchanges result from longer visits for each parent. For instance, think about scheduling four-day visits every other weekend rather than every weekend. You see your former partner every other week rather than every week, but the weekend parent spends the same amount of time with the child.

To find out how much time you and your partner spend with your child, you should also compute your scheduled parenting time. This is automatically computed with the Custody X Change app.

When your child is in school or with a caregiver who is not their parent, you can also record third-party time. You can see with greater accuracy how much time your child spends with each parent because this time is not included in the calculations.

Parenting time data is frequently needed for child support calculations, and it will also be necessary if you need to return to court to have your orders upheld or changed. You can track your actual parenting time and present the court reports as proof, for instance, if your ex frequently cancels visits or exceeds their allotted parenting time.

Establish strict limits on communication.

When co-parenting with a narcissist, you must set and adhere to strict boundaries regarding communication. Narcissists will use hostile and manipulative communication strategies to try to control you and keep you in their toxic orbit. It can be stopped by establishing guidelines and learning how to communicate with narcissists.

Establish guidelines in your parenting plan to safeguard you from unwelcome, needless, and unhealthy communication from your former partner. Declare that you will only talk to them about your child and co-parenting concerns, and calmly and quickly cut off any attempts to bring up forbidden subjects. Establish deadlines for responses and demand that they plan phone calls ahead of time.

Furthermore, avoid getting into disputes with them and resist their attempts to provoke you. Since narcissists, as you are aware, love attention, the best course of action is frequently to ignore them.

It’s important to remember that when co-parenting with a narcissist, experts advise against talking to them on the phone or in person. Not only is it more difficult to ignore them, but the tension can quickly turn into open conflict, frequently in front of the child, and there’s no record of what’s said.

Try to limit your communication with the other parent to text or email instead, and think about using a messaging app like Custody X Change that is specifically made for high-conflict co-parenting.

Before sending messages, it highlights aggressive language, allowing the sender to make changes. In the event that these messages are sent, the hostile language is noted explicitly in conversation logs, which, if required, can be provided to the court. To maintain structured and well-documented communication with your ex, you can also add attachments to conversations and arrange them according to topics.

Record everything.

Having already gone through the legal process of getting a divorce and determining child custody from a narcissist, you probably already know how important it is to keep meticulous records. Regretfully, the issuance of final orders does not mark the end of record-keeping. You never know when a narcissist will try to manipulate you further by modifying court orders or making up false allegations, so it’s critical to be ready with documentation of all co-parenting-related matters.

Keeping a parenting journal makes this enormous task more doable, even simple. Keep track of your child’s behavior patterns, take notes on your interactions with the other parent, electronically organize pictures and documents, and document instances where your child is impacted by the narcissistic behavior of the other parent.

To keep track of parenting costs and payments made to one another, use an expense tracker. Additionally, you can use it to ask the other parent for reimbursement for shared expenses, which keeps things businesslike and reduces needless communication.

Be the parent who is emotionally stable.

The emotional needs of their children are not given priority by a narcissistic parent. This implies that you should make it your mission to be your child’s safe haven, watching out for their wellbeing and sound emotional growth.

Give your kids the freedom to express their emotions without fear of criticism. Observe the emotional harm that the narcissistic behavior of the other parent causes to your child and devise plans to stop it or deal with it when it does.

Naturally, this presents difficulties because of the intricate psychological fallout from having a narcissistic parent. Experts advise mental health counseling for kids of narcissists because of this. Additionally, you might think about getting counseling for yourself, particularly if you exhibit signs of narcissistic abuse syndrome. Your ability to support your child will improve with the extent to which you are able to move past your relationship with a narcissist.

Think about coordinating your parenting.

You can co-parent with a narcissist more easily if you get professional help in the form of parenting coordination. A parenting coordinator is a specialist in child custody (typically a mental health specialist) who is hired by parents following custody orders or appointed by the court in cases involving high levels of conflict.

A parenting coordinator evaluates parents and makes recommendations to the judge regarding custody and parenting plan provisions during a court case. Following a case, coordinators help parents communicate and make decisions by ensuring that they adhere to the parenting time schedule. They occasionally even have the authority to decide when parents cannot agree.

When co-parenting is ineffective, consider parallel parenting.

If a narcissist is unwilling to cooperate or make concessions, co-parenting with them can be nearly impossible to manage, even with the best techniques and tools. If this describes your circumstances, you might want to think about parallel parenting. When you parent in parallel, you have very little contact with the other parent and you both raise your children independently of one an

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Happens if the Non-Custodial Parent Misses Visitation?

What Happens if the Non-Custodial Parent Misses Visitation?

Many parents find child support and visitation confusing. It’s not just you who is curious about the exact moment and manner in which these two align. Parental awareness is necessary because, according to state law, the two issues are actually distinct. Recognize your parental rights whether you are the primary custodial parent or the non-custodial parent.

Why the Courts Consider Visitation and Child Support Separately

Child support and child custody are considered separate issues by courts. Regardless of their experience or level of competence as parents, parents are still obligated to pay child support. All children, regardless of the type of custody and/or visitation arrangements in place, are entitled to this financial support.

Protecting the child’s best interests is the foundation for both child custody decisions. While there are many considerations, regularity and safety are usually at the top of the list.

The opportunity for the children to have nearly as much contact with each parent as they did prior to the separation and/or divorce may also be prioritized by the courts, subject to the child custody regulations recognized by a particular state. Seldom is the failure to pay child support considered a justification for limiting the children’s time with the non-custodial parent.

In any case, if the parent who is required to pay child support is current on those arrears, the court may suggest generous visitation or even shared custody.

The Impact of Missed Appointments

Visits that are cancelled are another common source of annoyance. When the non-custodial parent doesn’t follow the visitation schedule, what is the parent meant to do? Should the custodial parent continue scheduling visitation hours and endure excruciating meltdowns and outbursts after failing to show up?

Unfortunately, the custodial parent has limited options if the non-custodial parent chooses not to follow a visitation schedule that was mandated by the court. They can make an effort to get in touch with the other parent and find out why they aren’t attending the scheduled visitations. Alternatively, they could go back to court with the non-parent and ask for a different visitation schedule.

Kids and Refusing to Attend Visitations

Admit it: When a child doesn’t want to see their parent, no one can (or should) force them to. However, dealing with a child’s refusal of visitation may result in legal ramifications. In the event that kids balk at going on a planned visit with their other parent, you should:

  • Talk to them about their reasons for not wanting to participate in the visit (if they are concerned for their safety, ask to speak with your attorney).
    Assure your kids that you want them to spend time with the other parent and that their parents love them.
    Explain the concept of visitation and the reasons it’s crucial for them to spend time with each of their parents.
    Discuss with the other parent whether it would be possible for your kids to take a vacation or have fewer visits in certain situations.

What Happens If the Parent with Custody Refuses to Permit Visitation?

As the parent with custodial rights, they must adhere to the visitation schedule (sometimes referred to as a parenting plan) set by the court. Even in cases where the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, this remains valid. You must continue to permit the visits as scheduled even though you have the option to ask the court to enforce the child support order.

The custodial parent should contact their family attorney and the state child welfare agency if they are afraid that their child will suffer any harm in the near future, such as from suspected abuse or contempt.

Every situation is unique. Consult an experienced attorney or look through the resources available in your state for comprehensive information about visitation rights and child custody.

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Custodial Parents & Noncustodial Parents Rights

One parent is designated as the custodial parent and the other as the noncustodial parent, based on the custodial rights granted to each in the final custody order. These titles have an impact on each parent’s rights and obligations, including who is responsible for paying and receiving child support, among other things.

There are states where terms with the same meaning are used differently. Ohio, for instance, employs the terms “residential parent” and “nonresidential parent.”

A custodial parent: what is it?

The principal caregiver for the child is the custodial parent. They frequently get sole custody, which grants them complete control over all decisions pertaining to the child (sole legal custody) and most or all of the parenting time (sole physical custody).

The custodial parent may be named in a joint or sole custody agreement that the parents come to. Should that not be feasible, the judge determines the appropriate party based on:

The child’s best interests

Who has more time to devote to the child? Who was the child’s primary caregiver when the custody case began? In certain states, the child’s wishes
The opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with your child is one advantage of having custodial custody. There’s also the possibility that you won’t have to pay child support.

But you bear the majority of the parental load, particularly if you’re a single parent. All or most of your child’s growing pains and frustrations must be addressed as you are responsible for their daily care. In addition, you’ll have extra responsibilities that the other parent might be able to avoid, like driving the child to and from school.

Should you and your former partner get along well enough, you may be able to co-parent and divide these duties equally between the two of you.

A noncustodial parent is what?

In most cases, the noncustodial parent has less time with the child and is the one who pays child support, though they may still be eligible for assistance if the custodial parent earns a substantially higher income.

You may remain the noncustodial parent even if you share joint legal and physical custody. Perhaps the court decides you need to pay child support, or perhaps the other parent resides in a better school district.

Even though you might not see your child as much, you play an equally important role in their upbringing as the custodial parent does; children gain the most from having both parents involved.

Rights of noncustodial parents

Noncustodial parents are entitled to visitation privileges and decision-making power, unless the court rules otherwise. The court may mandate supervised visitation if there are worries about the child being with the parent alone.

The custodial parent’s refusal to permit visits does not absolve you of your child support obligations. If you want to make sure the order is enforced, you should bring the matter before a family court.

It is your right to be informed if the parent with custodial rights plans to move. The majority of states have deadlines for the custodial parent to notify the other parent when they are moving. The noncustodial parent now has time to object. If the distance is great enough to interfere with the visitation schedule, the custody order might need to be modified.

Both parents have the right to know where their child is during visits, if specified by the court order.

Working Together

For the purpose of raising your child, you and your ex-partner remain a team, despite your separation. Among the matters you ought to work together on are:

Important decisions pertaining to children, such as the child’s schooling
Significant costs for the child (such as medical procedures)

Reliability

Getting the youngster to and from appointments

Before going to court, think about attempting an alternative dispute resolution process if you’re having problems reaching a consensus on these issues. It might be more difficult to resolve conflicts amicably in the future if litigation is brought about right away.

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What to Do About Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation In Arizona

When a child or children are in the mix during a break-up or a divorce, the communications of one parent as well as their actions may purposefully undermine the relationship the child or children has with the other parent to the extent parental relationships can be permanently damaged. As a result, courts are rapid in their actions to address such behaviors and acts when they are exposed. Parents need to understand these issues and should avoid all negative behaviors. Therefore, it is important to learn the indications in the behavior of a child or children when they have been placed in a position they are being alienated towards the other parent.

Read on to learn more about the aspects of parental alienation.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Both judges are evaluators of child custody will seek the parent whose actions are positive and promote the relationships between the child or children and both parents. it is vital a parent never appears to be in a mode or retaliation or be vindictive or use financial issues as a weapon in matters of child custody. Therefore, parental alienation happens when a parent is guilty of causing a child or children to be negatively influenced towards the other parent of the child or children. On occasions this behavior can be unintentional but if often intentional and it is worth remembering parental alienation is not only a weapon used by one gender. Parental alienation is not gender specific any either parent is equally able to indulge in this destructive pattern of behavior should they wish to do so.

Parental Alienation Examples

There are many ways a child or children can be manipulated when one parent carries out acts of parental alienation. The goal is normally to separate the emotional bond a parent has with the child or children. The parent can do this by making negative comments about the parent directly to the child or children or to third parties but by ensuring the child or children can hear what is being said. These comments can have a great influence on a child or children who if they hear negative comments on a regular basis, become more credible and believable to the young minds who hear it. In the end, the result is often the child or children sees the other parent in the manner the way the accusatory parent has presented the situation to them.

Additionally, other members of the family may also join the accusatory parent in making alienating comments and actions towards the other parent in front of the child or children. These do not have to be outrageous statements, but just small comments and actions can help to cement negative thoughts towards the other parent. Nonetheless, with alienating, it is more often than not that not just one act or statement is negative, but usually the result of many small comments made over a prolonged period of time.

Signs of Parental Alienation

As we have discussed it is seldom one single action represents parental alienation but a series of actions and words and thoughts that manipulate a child or children negatively impact a parents’ relationship with their child or children. Undoubtedly some tactics used in parental alienation are extremely harmful but never more so than when a parent accuses the other of criminal activity. Especially when they do this in front of a child or children. This is a matter that needs to be acted on immediately. Here are some signs to look for that your child or children may be the victim of parental alienation:

  • Is a parent creating scenarios where the child or children misses when it is your time for visitation?
  • Has the attitude of your child or children changed from one of being pleased to see you to one of being angry towards you?
  • Does your child or children no longer use a familiar, informal name for you?
  • Does your child or children show signs of being uncomfortable around you?
  • Does your child or children only give very brief, monosyllabic answers?
  • Does the other parent turn up unexpectedly, creating drama and tension when there is no need to do so?
  • Does the other parent severely question the child or children following your visitation?
  • Does the other parent show resentment when you discuss enjoyable times with your child or children?
  • Does the child know matters regarding the divorce beyond what they need to know at their age?
  • Does it appear your parenting time is being cut short, altered or canceled at short notice?

There are three types of parental alienation.

 

  • Mild parental alienation: The child avoids contacting the alienated parent, but has a good relationship with them when the alienator is not around.
  • Moderate parental alienation: The child strongly resists contact with the alienated parent and is resentful when they do spend time together.
  • Severe parental alienation: The child insists on not having contact with the alienated parent. They may hide or run away to avoid being around the parent. In these cases, the alienator is determined to ruin the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Signs of parental alienation

Five factors help identify PA.

 

  • The child actively avoids, resists or refuses a relationship with the nonpreferred parent.
  • The child and nonpreferred parent once had a positive relationship.
  • The nonpreferred parent displays no abusive, neglectful or bad parenting behaviors.
  • The child shows many of the behaviors associated with parental alienation (more below).
  • The preferred parent shows multiple alienating behaviors (more below).

Behaviors of a child affected by parental alienation

A child affected by parental alienation may show eight behaviors. It’s important to note that these can also occur without parental manipulation.

 

  • Unfair criticism of the alienated parent (known as a campaign of denigration)
  • Unjustified harsh feelings toward the alienated parent
  • Exclusively negative feelings toward the alienated parent and only good feelings toward the alienator (known as a lack of ambivalence)
  • Insistence that all of their negative feelings and criticisms are their own (called the independent thinker phenomenon)
  • Consistent support of the alienator
  • Repetition of language and false stories told by the alienator
  • Lack of guilt about their hatred or mistreatment of the alienated parent
  • Extension of their dislike of the alienated parent to the alienated parent’s relatives

Behaviors of an alienating parent

An alienator’s behaviors may include:

 

  • Sharing personal information with the child (e.g., the other parent’s infidelities)
  • Preventing the child from talking to or visiting the alienated parent
  • Planning activities that they know will interfere with the alienated parent’s visitation time
  • Disobeying the parenting plan or refusing to negotiate a plan with the other parent
  • Hiding important information from the other parent (e.g., the child’s report card or medical records)
  • Monitoring all contact between the child and the alienated parent

It has been suggested that parents with behavioral issues like narcissistic personality disorder are more likely to be alienators. Though many people assume it’s more common for a mother to use a child against a father, parental alienation against a mother can also occur.

What to do about parental alienation

If you suspect parental alienation, seek professional help. It’s best to be proactive because the more severe PA becomes, the harder it is to treat.

A mediator, therapist, family counselor or child psychologist could help you figure out whether alienation is occurring and come up with a plan to improve your relationship with your child.

More research is needed to find a safe and effective treatment for PA. Current responses depend on the level of alienation.

  • Mild parental alienation: A judge could order parents to allow one another to have a healthy relationship with the child.
  • Moderate parental alienation: A parenting coordinator could help to reduce conflict and improve communication. Both parents and the child could also go to counseling. None of this will be effective if the alienator refuses to take part and continues alienating the child.
  • Severe parental alienation: The alienator might lose custody and only have supervised visits, while the child might have to attend reconciliation therapy with the alienated parent. This treatment may have negative side effects.

Parental Alienation Laws in Arizona & Effect on Child Custody (Legal Decision Making)

Title 25’s legal decision-making laws were last modified a couple of years ago when the Arizona state legislature decided it will be the responsibility of the court to engage both parents in the raising of a child or children. In light of this, clearly parental alienation is recognized as being a cause of damage to a child or children. When one parent has an established history of using parental alienation, it is less than likely they will be able to come to an agreement regarding parenting time or putting the best interests of the child or children first. In some cases, not even the use of lawyers or mediators assist in getting to this goal.

In such circumstances, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child or children. To make that determination, the judge will review  Arizona Code section 25-403.

The court is going to examine what parent is more likely to allow frequent, meaningful and continued custody with the other parent. So parental alienation can definitely count against a parent in these circumstances. The court may decide the child or children should be spend additional time with the other parent who is not involved in the practice of alienation tactics. In some circumstances, this alienation crosses a line into custodial interference where one parent violates current custody orders. In Arizona, this is considered a felony offense with possible jail time.

Source: “Parental Alienation.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/child-custody/parental-alienation/

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Mediation: How It Works

Learn the basics of this dispute resolution tool for divorcing spouses and get pointers on approaching your own child custody mediation sessions.

Divorce is an inherently painful process that can be all the more challenging when children are involved. Fighting over child custody issues in court can intensify the pain for all those involved—not to mention the expense.

Fortunately, disagreeing couples can get help working toward solutions for their family somewhere other than court. Child custody mediation exists precisely so that parents who just can’t seem to agree don’t have to take on the financial and emotional costs of court battles.

What Is Child Custody Mediation?

Mediation is a method of “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) that has become a mainstay in the world of divorce. When it comes to child custody, mediation is designed to help divorcing or unmarried parents reach an agreement on legal and physical custody of their children without the pain and expense of a traditional court contest.

In a mediation session, spouses meet with a trained mediator, usually in an informal setting (such as the mediator’s office), or sometimes online. Think of the mediator as a guide, navigating the couple through the maze of marital issues they disagree on. (Sometimes the spouses work with a mediator and otherwise handle the case themselves; other times, they each have an attorney who might help them prepare for mediation, provide coaching for the negotiation process, and prepare or review any resulting agreement.)

Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator doesn’t make decisions on the disputed matters. Rather, mediators use their knowledge and skill to try to facilitate a compromise that both spouses can live with. In divorce cases, a successful mediation will normally lead to the preparation of a written settlement agreement.

Although many issues in a divorce can be contentious, child custody and parenting time are often the most emotionally charged and difficult for families to agree on.

Child Custody Overview

Child custody isn’t the all-or-nothing proposition it’s often thought to be—one parent gets the kids, the other doesn’t, end of story. It’s well established that children fare better when both parents are an integral part of their life, and that’s the goal the courts strive for in custody cases.

At its core, child custody includes two basic concepts: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody relates to who will make the decisions regarding the important matters in a child’s life, such as education, religious upbringing, and non-emergency medical treatment. Unless one parent is unqualified for some reason, courts prefer to have parents share legal custody.

Physical custody has to do with where a child will primarily reside. To a large degree, determining physical custody depends on where each parent lives, with the aim being to provide for an arrangement that best suits the child’s needs.

In all custody matters, doing what’s in the child’s best interest is the court’s guiding principle.

Child Custody Mediation Basics

Although many issues in a divorce can be contentious, child custody and parenting time are often the most emotionally charged and difficult for families to agree on. Child custody mediation is intended to help tone down the hostility, for the sake of both the parents and their children.

Court-Ordered vs. Private Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation can be either ordered by a court or private and voluntary. Court-ordered mediation is often free, low cost, or priced on a sliding scale based on the parents’ incomes. But even if a judge has ordered you to participate in custody mediation, you almost always have the option of choosing private mediation instead of the mediation program offered through the court.

If you can afford it, private mediation allows you to have more say in the process, and it tends to be more successful than court-ordered mediation (in part because of the time restrictions on most court-sponsored custody mediation). Because of that, private mediation might actually save you money because of the court costs and lawyers’ fees that come when there’s no agreement.

Child custody mediation is also typically more cost effective than going to court, because you’re paying one mediator to help you come to an agreement, rather than both of you paying hourly fees to separate attorneys. Also, you have a say in when the sessions will take place. That’s a luxury that is practically nonexistent in the court system.

Most states (and many counties) require courts to order parents to participate in mediation in any case that involves a custody dispute. So even when couples who can’t agree haven’t opted to pursue mediation before filing for divorce, they’ll usually have to attend mediation at some point. In light of this, it’s important to learn how to approach mediation.

How to Prepare for Child Custody Mediation

First and foremost, remember that custody in general, and mediation in particular, isn’t primarily about the parents. It’s about the children. You have to make a commitment to do whatever is best for them, and that starts with being prepared.

Here are some quick tips on getting ready for a mediation session:

Try to get plenty of sleep the night before. Mediation can be stressful, so be sure to take care of yourself. It’s much easier to stay calm and think clearly when you’re rested.

  • Resolve to keep an open mind. Remember, it’s not about getting everything you want. Your spouse may have a different perspective on what’s best for the children. Try to understand where your ex is coming from instead of immediately digging in. The mediator may also have suggestions for custody and parenting time that you haven’t thought of.
  • Sketch something out. Write out a proposal of what you believe would be a fair custody and parenting time arrangement. Sketching out a plan can help organize your thoughts and provide a starting point for discussion. Include a checklist so you don’t lose track of issues that are important to you. Remember to include things such as:
    • how to handle transitions, meaning picking up and dropping off the children when it’s time for them to be with the other parent
    • how to share the cost involved in travel if that’s a factor (such as when the parents live far away from each other)
    • how to divide holidays throughout the year (for example, whether the schedule will be the same each year or will alternate)
    • vacation sharing, for school breaks and summer
    • how to deal with minor changes to the agreed-upon schedules, like when a child or parent is sick
    • the best way for parents to communicate with each other (phone and/or email, for example), and
    • anything you feel could be a potential problem, such as a parent having substance abuse issues that need to be addressed.

Keep in mind that software programs and smartphone apps can help parents coordinate all aspects of custody and parenting time, including communications.

When Custody Mediation Might Not Be Appropriate

Custody mediation is generally not appropriate in cases involving ongoing domestic violence or emotional abuse. In many states that require mediation for custody disputes, you may get out of this requirement if you’re experiencing abuse or there’s a protective order in place. Other states, like California, won’t excuse you from participating in custody mediation, but you may request special procedures to protect your safety.

As long as you have the choice to participate in mediation (or not), you should be aware that custody mediation might not be the best option in some other circumstances, such as when

  • there’s a history of abuse in your relationship, or the other parent bullies or dominates you
  • you have such a high level of conflict in your relationship that cooperation and effective communication is basically impossible, or
  • the other parent has an untreated substance abuse disorder.

5 Tips for Your Child Custody Mediation Sessions

Even if both spouses come with the best intentions, mediation can hit rough patches. When that happens it’s important to take a breath and refocus your energy on what’s best for the children.

Here are some more tips to achieve a successful mediation:

  1. Don’t bring up marital issues unrelated to the children. Remember that this isn’t a general divorce mediation, so don’t muddy the waters by bringing up anything not specifically related to custody and parenting time. Reciting a laundry list of things you don’t like about the other parent is a prime example of what not to say in child custody mediation.
  2. Be thoughtful with your language. When you reference your children, talk about “our” kids, not “my” kids. It’s more inclusive and less confrontational. And try to couch your remarks in terms of what you as parents can jointly do to make the situation as positive and painless for your children as possible.
  3. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Expect that—despite everyone’s best efforts—there will be times when your discussion can become heated. Don’t use that as an excuse to unload on the other parent, which will only undo progress that’s been made up to that point. Mediators are adept at calming the waters, but if you feel your emotions are getting away from you, ask to take a short break.
  4. Don’t subject yourself to abuse. If you choose to mediate your custody dispute despite a history of physical or emotional abuse, you might consider online mediation, mediation with separate sessions for you and the other parent, or both (meaning that you’ll meet virtually with the mediator in separate “break-out” sessions). So-called “shuttle mediation” usually costs more—because it takes more of the mediator’s time—but it can help level the playing field by offsetting the imbalance of power that frequently exists in abusive relationships. A successful outcome is worth the additional cost, which is still likely to be considerably less than heading to court. Virtual or separate mediation sessions are also useful if the degree of hostility between you and the other parent is so high that you can’t be in the same room.
  5. Remember, you always have options. In the event mediation doesn’t work, you can still turn to the courts. Even in that case, your mediation sessions will probably have highlighted the issues you can’t agree on, which will show you what you need to focus on going forward.

Finding a Qualified Mediator

Mediation has become such a popular method of settling legal issues that there’s no shortage of qualified mediators. Your state court’s administration office may have a list of approved mediators. There are also mediation organizations that offer lists of mediators along with their training and experience.

When researching, be sure to pay particular attention to each mediator’s qualifications. You want one who’s taken mediation courses specifically geared to divorce cases, including custody and parenting time. Also, be aware that a child custody mediator doesn’t necessarily have to be a lawyer—many trained child custody mediators are licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, or social workers who have experience in child custody issues in their state.

Of course, firsthand knowledge and word-of-mouth referrals are always helpful. Recommendations from friends or family members who’ve been through custody mediation are often the best referrals you can find.

Source: https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/understanding-child-custody-mediation.html

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

When Is a Bankruptcy Claim Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed?

The bankruptcy procedure requires you to categorize your debts or “claims” as contingent, unliquidated, or disputed. You’ll need to be familiar with these phrases in order to properly identify and categorize your debts on the various bankruptcy forms.

In a bankruptcy, You Must List All Debts or “Claims”

You describe your financial condition to the court, trustee, and creditors on your bankruptcy filings. Your financial information will be disclosed, along with your monthly budget, real estate and personal property holdings, debts or “claims” you owe, income, and recent real estate transactions.

When listing claims in your documentation, you must include the name, address, and amount owed to each creditor. Find out how to fill out bankruptcy forms.

Not Every Bankruptcy Debt Is Conditional, Unliquidated, or Contestable

Because the label is only necessary if it is unclear whether you owe the loan, the majority of debts won’t require a contingent, unliquidated, or contested label. There will almost always be no doubt that you owe the money. You won’t need to describe the claim as contingent, unliquidated, or contested if you don’t have a defense to use to avoid paying the debt.

Consider the scenario when you have a car loan that is past due. The claim would then be for the remaining sum. Other common responsibilities, like credit card debt, would follow the same rules.

Types of Creditor Claims in Bankruptcy: Secured, Unsecured & Priority explains additional claim classifications that you should be aware of.

When a Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed Debt Will Arise

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine how much money you owe a creditor. Each of the labels—contingent, unliquidated, and disputed—identifies a specific problem that must be fixed before the claim may be paid.

Maybe how much you owe will rely on what someone else does, or maybe it won’t. Alternatively, you and the creditor may differ on the amount you owe.

If there is an issue, you should note it when filing the claim on your bankruptcy papers under the relevant heading of contingent, unliquidated, or contested claim (the form provides checkboxes for these designations).

A contingent claim is what?

Payment of the claim is subject to a future occurrence that may or may not take place. For example, if you cosigned a secured loan (like a mortgage or auto loan), you aren’t liable for paying it until the other cosigner defaults. Your responsibility as a cosigner depends on the default.

An Unliquidated Debt Is What?

There are times when you owe money but are unsure of how much. Although the precise amount of the debt hasn’t been established, it might exist. Let’s take the example of a lawsuit you filed against someone for injuries you had in a car accident. Your attorney has accepted the case on a contingency basis; if you win, the attorney will receive a third of the recovery; if you lose, the attorney will receive nothing. The debt owed to the attorney is unpaid. The amount of the attorney’s fee won’t be known until the case is settled or won at trial.

A Disputed Debt Is What?

You will tick this box if there is a discrepancy between the amount you owe and what you owe, if anything at all. Consider a scenario in which the IRS has an involuntary tax lien on your property and claims that you owe them $10,000. On the other hand, you think you just owe $500. You should state that the claim is disputed and include the total amount of the lien rather than the amount you believe you owe (you can clarify how much you believe you owe in the notes).

In Bankruptcy, You Must List All Claims

For a variety of reasons, it’s typical for someone to desire to exclude a claim from the bankruptcy petition. You cannot succeed. All claims, including those you believe you owe and those that others think you owe, must be listed.

It’s ideal for you to do that. Even if it would typically be considered a dischargeable debt, if you don’t list a claim, it might not be eliminated or “discharged” in your situation.

Claims Payment in Bankruptcy

Following the payment of creditors, the following will take place:

Creditors will be notified by the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case that it is a “asset case.”
In order to get a portion of the available funds, a creditor must submit a proof of claim form by a specific deadline.
The claims will be examined by the trustee, who will then pay them in accordance with bankruptcy law’s priority payment system.
But keep in mind that every circumstance is different. Consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer if you are unclear about what will happen to the claims in your bankruptcy case.

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