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Navigating High-Conflict Child Custody in Orange County: What You Need to Know

by | May 28, 2024 | Child custody and child support

Navigating High-Conflict Child Custody in Orange County: What You Need to Know

Child custody cases—whether related to divorce or outside of marriage and divorce—tend to be both legally and emotionally challenging. If, however, you’re facing a high-conflicting child custody case, protecting your parental rights as you navigate the difficult path forward is key, and for that, you need trusted family law guidance in your corner. An experienced Orange County child custody attorney can help.

What Sets High-Conflict Child Custody Cases Apart in Orange County

Every child custody case has its challenges, but when a case is classified as high conflict, it’s reached an entirely different level. Some hallmarks of high-conflict child custody cases include all the following:

  • Cases that involve a seemingly nonstop loop of litigation, including legal filings and court appearances
  • Cases that involve unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct that are alleged to negatively affect the children and that are used as legal leverage in the child custody battle
  • Cases that become so embittered the children show signs of stress and anxiety
  • Cases in which one spouse refuses to consider compromise and exhibits a complete unwillingness to engage in either mediation or collaborative negotiations
  • Cases in which communications between the two parties break down to the point of open hostility or to the point of refusing to communicate altogether

If any of these examples sound familiar, it’s time to address the matter head-on with the skilled family law counsel of a dedicated child custody attorney who has a wealth of experience successfully handling high-conflict cases like yours.

Resolving Your Case in the Orange County Courts

If you have gotten to the point that you classify your child custody case as high conflict, it is a contested case, which means you and your ex will need the court’s intervention to resolve the related terms. When Orange County family law courts determine child custody terms, they are always guided by the children’s best interests, and the best interest factors they turn to include the following:

  • The age and overall health of the children
  • The depth of the relationship between each parent and the children
  • Each parent’s ability to address each child’s needs
  • The strength of each child’s ties to their current home, school, and community and how well each serves the children
  • The preferences of those children who are considered mature enough to be involved
  • Any history of family violence or any concerns related to substance abuse on the part of either parent

The Matter of Status Quo

Orange County family law courts take the matter of status quo – or current living situation – into careful consideration when addressing child custody cases. If your children are doing well in terms of their homelife, their schooling, and the community in which they live and if the status quo has been serving them well for a considerable amount of time, this fact will carry a significant amount of weight with the Orange County family law court.

This said, however, Orange County courts are invested in affording both parents frequent and regular contact with their children. As such, these pillars of parenting time are considered in relation to the children’s overall best interests – in pursuit of terms that strike a careful balance. In other words, many factors are taken into consideration, and every case is considered in relation to the unique circumstances involved.

The Matter of Effective Co-Parenting and Communication

Orange County courts expect parents to communicate and cooperate with one another in support of their children’s best interests, and when one parent demonstrates that they are unwilling to do so, it can negatively affect their child custody rights. In cases like this, parallel parenting approaches can help parents bypass their differences in mutual support of their shared children.

Parallel Parenting in Child Custody

While effective co-parenting is all about open communication and shared effort, parallel parenting focuses on limiting interactions between the parents, and it is often employed in high conflict cases. The idea is to communicate with your ex as little as possible – since that is a known trigger for hostilities – and to proceed according to careful parameters that are designed to support your children’s best interests.

The Involved Terms

The heart of parallel parenting is a carefully devised parenting time schedule that establishes a system. Once you set the ground rules, there will be little need for additional interaction between you and your ex. If you and your ex share legal custody, you’ll need to agree on primary parenting decisions and will need to let these decisions guide your parenting when your children are with you. These primary decisions relate to all the following:

  • Schooling
  • Religious upbringing
  • Medical care
  • Extracurriculars

Parents can also divide these important parenting decisions between themselves according to category. Another option is for one parent to have sole legal child custody, which means they make these decisions on their own. Regardless of your situation, however, you will each need to make workaday parenting decisions when the children are with you.

From here, most divorced couples set up careful drop-off and pickup terms, take turns attending their children’s activities and meetings and carry out their parenting duties when the children are with them. Parallel parenting allows parents who’ve been through high-conflict child custody cases to focus on their children’s best interests while minimizing the negative consequences of their own animosity.

An Experienced Orange County Child Custody Attorney is Standing by to Help

High-conflict child custody cases are among the most challenging family law concerns, but recognizing your situation for what it is and seeking the legal help you need can make all the difference. The seasoned Orange County child custody attorneys at Minyard Morris dedicate their imposing practice to helping clients like you resolve their cases favorably – with a focus on their parental rights and their children’s best interests.

Our 19 family law attorneys have nearly 300 years of combined experience.  If results matter, carefully compare lawyers and law firms. The decision as to who to retain is not difficult. Allow Minyard Morris to be your trusted advisors and child custody lawyer.

We are on your side and here to help, so please don’t wait to reach out and contact us or call us at 949-724-1111 for more information about what we can do for you today.