San Jose Family Law Attorney Comments on Child Custody Arrangements Divorce can be an emotionally taxing process for everyone involved. It is often difficult for both parties to deal with the legal issues that arise in a clear-headed and objective manner. This is where a San Jose divorce attorney can be of assistance. Child custody disputes are usually the most emotionally charged part of any divorce. You need a San Jose Family Lawyer to help you deal with your legal issues and make clear decisions regarding the best interest of your children. The benefits of having a good and experienced San Jose family lawyer go far beyond a mere capacity to recite to you the current legal rules and procedures. You will need someone who has seen it before, who can tell you what to expect, and who is not weighted down by all those emotionally charged questions about whether you are doing enough for your children and/or whether visitation time granted to the other party is somehow the Court’s disapproval of you as a parent (it almost never is). California Courts lean towards joint custody arrangements whenever possible and believe it is in the best interest of children to have frequent and regular interaction with both parents after the divorce. Thomas Chase Stutzman is a San Jose family law attorney who works with his clients to create a Parenting Plan to address legal and physical custody, as well as a visitation schedule, including holidays. Legal custody entails parental rights and responsibilities regarding day-today decisions, as well as issues such as providing each other access to the children’s medical and school records and keeping one another informed of updated contact information. Physical custody deals with the amount of time the children will spend with each parent, as well as sharing major holidays. The custodial time can be specified as to the date, time and location for the exchange of the children. While there is no specific age in which a child can decide for themselves which parent they wish to live with, the Judge may take the child’s wishes into consideration if they feel the child is of “sufficient age and maturity” to voice their opinion. The Legislature has tried to draw this line at age 14; however, it remains to be seen how closely that estimate of maturity will be followed. Beginning January 1, 2012, a child 14 years or older can be given the opportunity to address the Court directly regarding both visitation and custody, unless the presiding Judge states on the record their reasoning behind denying this request on the basis that they feel it would not be in the child’s best interest. There will probably always be a sound and strong argument that a child testifying to the Court about which parent they want to be with can be interpreted by both parents as the child taking sides. Both the feeling of empowerment on the part of the chosen parent and the feeling of betrayal on the part of the other parent will be clearly contrary to the child’s best interests. The possibility that the child might figure out that they can bargain with both parents, and try to work out their own best deal should also create substantial concerns about how the process of trying the essentially extort their own parents will affect the development of their character and moral code. Worse, any promises made by either parent in an effort to be chosen by the child, which promises are not kept, could also lead to the same sort of disrespect and cynicism now rightfully held out for elected politicians. With the clear negatives caused by any protracted custody dispute it is easy to understand why
the Courts in Santa Clara County will try very hard to get the parents to reach a settlement of these issues. San Jose Family Law Attorney Thomas Chase Stutzman has over 35 years of experience in divorce and family law issues in California. He is a top-notch San Jose Divorce Lawyer and is committed to providing his clients with diligent and zealous advocacy in their divorce proceedings. The Law Offices of Thomas Chase Stutzman are cognizant of the sensitive nature of dealing with family law issues from different cultures and as such they employ a bilingual staff, including a paralegal fluent in Mandarin. Contact the Law Office of Thomas Chase Stutzman at 408 294-4600 (www.tomstutzman.com) for all your family law needs. The first 30 minutes of initial consultation is free of charge.