DAVID PISARRA

Posts Tagged ‘Custody Strategy’

Child Support Help for Unemployed Dads Accused of Sexually Molesting

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues, Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 at 6:15 am

Parenting has become war for some people. It’s a shame that some people use their children as a means to help make ends meet. I know the custodial parent will say that raising a child costs more than they will ever receive in child support and they are right. But that doesn’t stop some custodial parents from trying to increase their support any way they can.

For others it’s a matter of control. They hate the father. There’s a variety of reasons, from “it was just a one night affair – why wont he go away” to “he’s a low-life scum and I KNOW he’s molesting my baby.”

When a father is accused of sexually molesting a  child, it triggers a whole host of problems. Depending on who did the reporting, when it gets investigated by Child Protective Services, the case will either be closed for lack of grounds (this frequently happens when the reporter is the Mom and she is doing it only to cause problems or lay the foundation for Parental Alienation) or investigated further. If a mandatory reporter (doctor, therapist, psychologist, school counselor etc ) does the reporting there is a much greater chance of a full blown investigation because usually the child has said something that has triggered the investigation.

An unemployed dad, who is accused of sexually molesting his child, and who has to pay child support, needs help, badly. The first thing any father who is unemployed should do, is file a Motion to Reduce the Child Support he owes. In California it is called an Order To Show Cause, basically it’s an application for the order, and a declaration under penalty of perjury that your income has dropped and the child support needs to be recalculated.

This is important to do as soon as possible, so that you can get a court date and reserve what is called Retroactivity. That means the court can modify the amount of child support you owe going back to the date you filed – that’s called Retroactive Child Support Modification. This is important because you may not be in front of a judge for 3 months.

You need to do this, because if you are unemployed and facing sexual molestation charges, you need an attorney who specializes in that area, and they will need to be paid up front. This is a VERY very VERY serious matter. I call it the Nuclear Option and more and more moms are using against dads.

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Justice calls for an end to quickie divorces

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues on July 2, 2009 at 9:47 am

Check out this article, she writes about how her brother killed himself, but was a great dad, and maybe the costs of being away from his kids lead to the depression.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/07/02/sears.family.divorce/index.html

CHILD CUSTODY RULES FOR FATHERS

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues on April 8, 2009 at 6:50 am

In August of last year I wrote about my belief that parents should be forced to take an equal division of time in their children’s care. I don’t think it’s fair or equitable that the lion’s share of child rearing falls to the mother. Fathers should be required by law to take their children 50% of the time.

Those Republican poster-children, Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston had a child out of wedlock, and are now going through the negotiation process of how much access Levi is to be allowed to his son. He says that Bristol, she of the “Family Values” family, wont let him take his son. We see this type of controlling behavior is all too often in our practice, and it is a detriment to the father/child bonding.

I understand that the Johnston child is only a few months old, but that is no excuse in this day and age for a father to be denied solo parenting time. Frequently the mom claims that the father is not a good parent, or too immature, or too uneducated on how to provide for a newborn. I think those are weak arguments at best and disingenuous at worst. If a man is old enough to father a child, to be required to pay child support, then he should be old enough to take up the mantel of parenting.

Today, as it stands, fathers who want to obtain, or increase, their visitation and custody orders need to keep in mind the following: Proximity, Paperwork and Persistence. They can make or break your chances of getting the orders issued by the judge. Most fathers start out a custody case at a disadvantage. When dad moves out, the children are left with mom, and that becomes the way the court is inclined to keep the situation. The moment that dad moves out of the family home, is the moment that mom gains an advantage in child custody hearings.

Here’s why, the courts don’t want to upset the children’s living environment. They focus on keeping the child stable, and that means in their historical home.

So how then does a man recover from the mistake of moving out of the house? He must show to the court that he can effectively parent the child, with as little disruption to the child’s routine as possible.

PROXIMITY

This means how far or close dad lives to the child’s home and school. This is a major factor in increasing, or acquiring, custody and visitation. The closer dad is to the home and school, the more easily he can be present for the child, and the courts give this great weight. If the choice is for a child to be in a car for five minutes getting from mom’s home to school or a 25 minute drive from dad’s home, the court is going to prefer mom’s home. It is also more likely that the child’s friends and social network are close to the school they attend, which is a factor for the court.

PAPERWORK

Cases are won or lost on documentation. Dads should keep a Calendar or a diary of all the time that they are with their child. In any contested case, mom has something that she will use to show the court how little time dad spends with the kids.

A simple calendar which shows the days that dad took his child, and what they did on those days can make all the difference for a change in custody. If dad keeps the receipts for what he did with his child, it will allow his lawyer to prove that he took the child to see the movie Cars on a day when mom says he didn’t visit. This is a crucial credibility issue, and one that with a little bit of work by dad, can yield big gains. The court will see that dad is truthful, and he’s come a long way towards winning the credibility wars, and that can lead to more time with his child.

PERSISTENCE

The biggest factor that effects whether or not a dad will win more visitation or even equal custody, is his ability to come back, time and time again. The successful dad in family court, is the dad who never gave up, and was willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how difficult it was, or how long it took, to prove to the court that he wants and is capable of being a loving, attentive and present father.

The successful dad who wants to increase his custody and visitation, will live close to his child, keep good records, and never give up when dealt a bad hand.

January is Divorce Season to “Emotionally Clean House”

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Paternity Issues, Property Issues, Spousal Support, Strategy Issues, Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Here I am quoted in an article in the Hartford Courant on the rate of Divorces and Child Custody Disputes in January.

David Pisarra, a Santa Monica, Calif., divorce lawyer, said he believes the sense of a “fresh start” may contribute to the tone of certainty among his January clients.

“When the calendar turns over, they are kind of ready to emotionally clean house,” he said.

Many of his January clients, Pisarra wrote in an e-mail, will “approach an impending divorce in a more positive manner than they do throughout the year, which we attribute to the ‘new beginning’ mentality that surrounds the new year.”

Father Wins Celebrity Child Custody Battle

In Child Custody Issues, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 24, 2008 at 7:55 am

Celebrity Sharon Stone has lost a bid to have her son moved from his stable father’s permanent custody to the circus that is Los Angeles.

The ruling said,  

“Court finds that [Bronstein] can provide a more structured continuity, stable, secure and consistent home.”

Read the full Daily News article here: Sharon Stone Loses Custody Of Son

As usual the headlines make it look like she is the victim, but in reality the child is the winner, by having a stable home life away from the craziness that is the life of a celebrity. Here’s a father who is obviously stepping up to the parenting plate and doing his job.  The court said that absent a change in circumstance, the custody will remain the way it is.  This is typical, and I’ve seen it be the standard in the Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and Orange County courts. The reason why is that once a situation is set, courts are very reluctant to make changes to child custody, as stability is the goal in the child’s life.

Parental Alienation Loses Round One In Court

In Child Custody Issues, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 22, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Here’s the latest on Big Daddy and the Psycho Case: 


     I had a win last week, well, as much as anyone wins in the Family Courts. One of the fathers that I’ve been representing for the past 9 months had the value of his relationship to his child validated by the courts. This is a man who is going through an agonizing divorce and child custody battle. We’ve been in court a dozen times seeking and fighting restraining orders, custody orders, visitation enforcements.

     The mom has done everything in her power to prevent dad from seeing his 2 1/2 year old daughter. For 10 weeks she denied him visitation, before he hired me. She has used the Nuclear Option in custody battles and alleged that there sexual molestation by the father, on absolutely no evidence.

     Finally the court ordered an independent evaluation of the respective parenting skills of the parent, which involved full psychological evaluation of all parties. The report came back heavily weighted in favor of my client, and so, in a last ditch effort to alienate the father from his daughter, mom decided she “had to move” out of state.

     Thankfully the judge saw this case, after all the court appearances, and the psychology, for what it was. A mother doing everything she could to rid dad from his daughters life, and he put a stop to it. She can move, but if she does, dad gets full custody here in California. Suddenly she doesn’t quite “need to” anymore.

     This was nothing more than what is called Parental Alienation syndrome and it is is a hot button issue, and which side you come down on, is very much determined by whether you are the parent who is trying to destroy any relationship between your kids and your ex, which frequently masquerades as “protecting the children”, or whether you are the ex, the “target”.

     It is a pattern of behavior that creates fear, anxiety and distrust of the target parent. Frequently it is the mother, but it could be either parent, who tries in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways, to create a wedge in the relationship between parent and child.

     The subject is difficult to identify because of what the alienator does, as an example, “Susie, I want you call me as soon as you get to daddy’s house. You know you can ALWAYS call me if you need me.”  On the surface this looks like mom is just being a concerned mother. But the underlying message is that “Dad’s is not a safe environment for you and I’m concerned for your welfare.”

     Many judges, lawyers, therapists, counselors and evaluators will not see this as an example of PAS, but when comments like that pile up, it begins to create a wedge between child and parent. The goal of the alienating parent is to destroy the relationship between parent and child, so that in a child custody case, full custody is given to one parent in contravention of the other’s rights. Father’s already have a hard time with this, as they are usually not the primary caregiver, so already their relationship is being minimized due to time constraints.

     This topic was widely covered in the media in April of 2007, when Kim Basinger released a private family phone call from the father of her daughter, Alec Baldwin. This was a clear attempt at parental alienation, and was in my opinion a wholly inappropriate and mean spirited thing to do. Mr. Baldwin has a book coming out today about his trials and tribulations in Family Court, called “A Promise to Ourselves”. as he said in his public apology,  I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.)

     It is a common belief that men don’t love their children as much as women. Well, in the case I’ve dubbed ‘Big Daddy and the Psycho’, he drives 2 1/2 hours each way, twice a week, to spend 2 hours with his daughter, and every other week he makes that trip a third time, to pick up the baby for a weekend visit. He spends 10 hours a week in traffic, to see his child for a mere 4 hours a week.

     Dads can be, and are, dedicated parents also.

Child Custody Battles – Parental Alienation Resource

In Child Custody Issues, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Here’s a Parental Alienation resource for telling your side of the story. The folks at www.keepingfamiliesconnected.org are not just building a website, they are living the horror of Parental Alienation. They built this site to help others deal with the pain of the loss, and to hopefully create a roadway back to their children and their lives. It’s a great idea, and they’ve done a wonderul job of setting up an example of what a parent who is fighting for the right to see their kids should do. The video is a great example of a father’s devotion.

If you’re a dad who is experiencing the loss of a child through Parental Alienation, creating a website here, might be the way that your kids can  reunite with you as they grow up.  Parental Alienation Resource