Ms. Jett has represented thousands of families and children over the span of 22 years. Ms. Jett routinely represents Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, and Siblings.
In most California child custody cases, minors are rarely allowed to testify in court. Because of this fact, the court will appoint minor’s counsel to interview the child about their concerns and their custodial preference.
Minor’s counsel is a neutral voice for the child, without compromising the child’s rights, emotional well-being, or forcing the child to side with one parent or the other. Their role is to consider what is the best interest of the child, while not being bound by emotions that often come with divorce, child abuse, neglect, and other difficult issues often associated with contested child custody or divorce cases
Minor’s counsel only represents the child. If there is more than one child involved, separate counsel for each child may be appointed. The county might pay for the representation if the parents can’t afford to pay themselves but usually the court requires one or both parents to pay the fees. Once assigned, the attorney continues to represent the minor until the child reaches the age of 18. In some cases, the court may choose to end their appointment early.
There are two types of Parenting Plan Assessments done:
In high conflict cases where two sides have opposing views about what is in the best interests of their children in terms of custody and visitation, California Evidence Code section 730 provides judges the option of appointing an expert witness to investigate the matter and report to the Court.
Reliable Custody Evaluators are not hired guns for either side. It can be very difficult for a judge to determine the truth of claims between family law litigants, what their underlying motives are, whether there is some mental health or substance abuse undercurrent, and whether one parent is more likely than the other to foster an ongoing relationship between the other parent and their children. Therapists and psychologists are able to spend time interviewing parents and sometimes have them complete psychological testing, they meet children, talk to teachers, visit homes, check with therapists who are seeing family members, and also interview significant others, new spouses, and other children in blended families.
It typically takes at least three months for an expert psychologist to complete all the necessary interviews and write a detailed report.
Most courts require this report to be submitted at least 10 days prior to a hearing, so that both sides have ample time to review it.
In a child custody dispute, the Judge can conduct an interview with a child to determine the child’s wishes. This interview is typically held in the judge’s private office.
The Judge discusses the child’s desires for where he or she would like to live, the child’s desires for visitation, and any other issues involved in the custody suit.
The Judge takes many factors into consideration when making a final decision on child custody.
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