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Common problems in child custody arrangements

When California parents are facing the end of their marriage, both they and their children may struggle. Parents need to be careful about some common pitfalls concerning children that happen during and after the process. One is that there may be so much animosity between the two parents that one or both fail to honor provisions in the parenting agreement including visitation and support. If this occurs, the only solution might be to return to court.

In some cases, the non-custodial parent simply stops turning up for the child. The parent might not make scheduled phone calls or arrive for scheduled visitations. This can be confusing for children who are already dealing with a difficult situation. Parents who are unable to honor their custody or visitation agreement need to revise the plan so that they can meet their child's expectations.

Another problem is a situation known as "parental alienation." In some cases, a parent will deliberately try to damage a child's relationship with the other parent and prevent contact between the two. A parent facing alienation should keep a record of all these incidents to present in court.

In some cases, parental conflict may arise out of a parent's hurt and fear following a divorce. The parent does not necessarily mean to cause pain to anyone but may not make the best decisions in this turbulent time. Working with an attorney might help a parent set out their goals and work better with the other parent on issues around custody and visitation. Mediation can often be a constructive beginning to a longer-term co-parenting relationship, and this can make the process of adjustment less difficult for children as well.

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