What do I need to do to get sole custody? 5 Answers as of March 17, 2011

My ex and I have a judgment stating he can have visitation six non-consecutive weeks a year. He has only taken two weeks for the past five years. He recently cut their insurance and took a lower paying part-time job. Before he was in the military and had a good income and full health coverage for the children. I have been their sole caregiver since birth. I was wondering, what are my chances of getting sole custody since he has not lived up to the order that is in place? He has no grounds, but is filing for primary custody of the children because I have remarried and have a new child. Thanks for your time.

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Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
Although the facts you declared are bare bones, custody is NEVER an issue you should litigate without competent legal counsel as this is not an issue that should be taken lightly, your child is at stake!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you.

The fact that your ex hasn't visited the children except for two weeks in the last five years should help you, but he may be able to present mitigating factors if his being in the military diminished his availability during that period.

The children are not used to his presence if all he saw the children during the last five years was for two non-consecutive weeks. It is unlikely that the Court would immediately provide significant custodial or visitation time to your ex, because that could be shocking to the children, by removing them for significant periods from their historical nurturer and placing them with a virtual stranger. The Court would likely require a parenting plan with a number of steps in it, providing a small amount of custodial time to your ex, and gradually stepping up his time with the children.

The fact that your ex took a lower-paying job would not be relevant to the custody issue, and the job he took may not have had health insurance benefits. You would need to look at the Judgment to see what orders it contained regarding your ex providing health insurance benefits for the children, and if health insurance benefits are available through his employment at no or reasonable cost, your ex should be providing such benefits for the children - and he may be in contempt of the existing orders. On the other hand, if no health insurance benefits are available to him through his employment, or if health insurance benefits are available to him through his employment at unreasonable cost, his cutting the children's health insurance benefits may be seen as justifiable.

There are many factors involved in child custody litigation, but your being and acting as the childrens' primary parent is a significantly positive factor in your favor, but is not the only factor that the Court would consider. The quality of parenting is also a significant factor that would be of interest and importance to the Court.

The Court may order a 730 psychological evaluation of the parties and the children, to assist the Court in determining an appropriate parenting plan to institute.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Your ex-husband's motion is ludicrous. Though it appears to be financially motivated, it is ridiculous. As if, after exercising a fraction of his very marginal visitation with the children for the past five years, the Court will give him primary physical custody? Not any sane Judge. If there truly are no grounds (your remarriage and new child really only enhance your arguments, not his), then you need to be sure that you timely respond, and request sole legal and physical custody. You might not get it, but he will almost surely lose. I would say that he would surely lose, but some Judges are just really irrational, or even capricious (or worse), sometimes, and delight to act with the impunity that their office affords them.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
Custody is decision making authority. What I think you are referring to is a timeshare and eliminating your ex's time with the children. I think, absent some very bad behavior, that the court would not grant this request to either of you. I don't think your remarriage is necessarily grounds for a significant change of custody either, but I'd be happy to speak with you regarding your case and see if I can help. I offer free consultations.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
Your chances for sole custody might be good but that will not stop his visitation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/17/2011
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