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A friend of mine is looking for a good family lawyer for a custody case in the Bay Area. It is important to my friend that the lawyer is not only competent but can also be trusted to be reasonable on a personal level: (s)he should sincerely care about what is best for the child and be as sensitive as possible with all the people involved. Since my friend will be flying to California soon, any quick advice would be great. Thanks a lot for your help!!
I need help finding a great family law attorney for child custody and restraining order trial. We have a long, complex case and I really need a very experienced attorney, familiar with abusive relationships dynamic, experienced in representing women in such cases, and practicing in Contra Costa County. I checked the archives, looking for recent referrals. Mediation tried and was useless, my ex-husband never listens to anyone. He lie and will stop at nothing. I need a caring attorney who really fights for his client and not just charging money to drag the case. i am so overwhelmed. Please help! anon
Dear parents, I am going through custody battle and in a great need for a excellent family law attorney practicing in Contra Costa County, where our case is. I left my ex-husband due to domestic violence when I was pregnant. Now my child is older but my ex-husband still doesn't leave us in piece. I reviewed the archive of BPN and contacted most of FL attorneys recommended, but most of them of not practicing in Contra Costa County, or not taking new cases etc. During last year I spend $10 000 for an attorney who I found on Yellow Pages, but situation became only worse. I would appreciate greatly if you could recommend a knowledgeable honest attorney with experience of representing woman. Thank you very much. desperate mom
Hello, I am looking for a best family lawyer in SF area. I am dealing with my ex about our almost 2 years old daughter's child custody. We are using a mediator, but seems like it is not going too well. Basically my ex wants to take her to his place after work which is around 7:30-8pm, and bring her back in the morning around 10am. Our mediator told us it will be better if there was as little transition for her to deal with at her age as possible, but he thinks taking her every night is not a problem. He claims that because he is the father, he has a right to keep her 50% of the time. I have been the primary care person in my daughter's life since she was born. even now I only work part time so that I can take care of her because I believe it is better for my daughter to be raised by her parent than in day care or baby sitter it situation allows (I am not saying that putting your kid in a day care or have nanny watch your kid is bad. Please don't misunderstand...) Please help me find a great lawyer who can help me deal with my situation... Thanks anon
In my layperson's opinion, I think it's unlikely that a California court would give him nighttime custody only (it doesn't seem to fit the ''best interest of the child'' standard), but it is possible that he will be awarded substantial custody, regardless of how wonderful the attorney is who represents you. Unless a parent is grossly and manifestly ''unfit,'' the courts do lean towards joint custody, but aren't always bent on 50%.
You should also be aware that there is a very strong backlash in CA against nurturing mothers who want to limit the father's role in their children's lives. If you come across as ''relentless'' in your efforts to have full custody, the court might decide you're an ''alienator'' and award full custody to your ex. The fam. court has the most respect for parents who come into the custody dispute with respect for the other parent and a desire for the child to have ''frequent and continuing contact'' with both parents.
I recommend Philip Stalh's book ''Parenting After Divorce''; Stahl is a local mediator/evaluator, and this book has gained national recognition. Best of luck my 2 cents
Hi all -- I'm looking to legally change the custody agreement that I have with my ex-husband. After several years of sobriety he has begun abusing alcohol again and I would like to speak with a lawyer who has experience in this type of situation, specifically in changing from joint to sole custody. Other people who have been through similar situations have told me about mandated supervised visits and periodic drug and alcohol testing, but I really don't know anything about the various types of provisions I could put in place to keep my children safe while they are with their father. Also don't really know if this is a no-brainer, as my friends seem to think, or if it is likely to be a very difficult change to make. Any recommendations for lawyers familiar with this type of situation would be greatly appreciated! anon
What often makes sense to the layperson as a parent, is not necessarily what happens in court, so be wary when friends say your case is a ''no-brainer.'' Each case is different and the outcome is often influenced by the nature and style of attorney representation, who the judge is, the behavior and actions of the other parent, and ultimately the specific facts in the case.
Changing custody is frequent in family law cases, so most family law attorneys are familiar with this process. I always recommend people shop around for an attorney who fits their needs in terms of goals, style of representation, and budget. These cases can take a long time and it it important to work with someone you like and feel comfortabnle with.
I am a mediator and experienced family law attorney would be happy to consult with you more specifically about your case. I generally provide free, 20-minute phone consultations and charge $100 per hour for an in-person consultation. A
I'm getting remarried and moving with my fiance to the central valley from the east bay. I am a stay at home mom with 3 small children and my ex-husband has served me papers stating that I can't move out of the county with our children. I was referred to an attorney, Tanya Leydiker, in Walnut Creek. Any feedback positive or negative on this attorney? Any other recommendations? Thank you! anon
Urgently need an experienced, aggressive, communicative attorney for child custody case in which a toddler has been abducted by her mother, for Contra Costa County. Our nice attorney doesn't have experience or resources for this case. Please help with names and experiences. Also organizations that can help. Thanks.
Hello. I am hoping you can help me. I have a long road ahead of me with a legal battle with my non working, illegal substance abusing soon to be ex-husband over our child. I want to do a moveaway divorce and therefore need full physical custody of our child. Can you please recomend an attorney who can practice in Contra Costa county who specializes in these types of cases? Thank you so so much for your help. anon
Dear Parents, If you know an experienced and professional Family law attorney practicing in Contra Costa County please advice. Desperately need help ASAP. My case is in Contra Costa County where my exhusband lives. I have an endless custody battle with my exhusband, whose only goal is to make my life miserable, retaliating me for leaving him. He didn't visit his child for many months, doesn't care for a child and teaches against me when he does visit, visitations exchanges are a nightmare, but he has an expirienced attorney who is dragging the case and lies in the court. We just had a hearing and I need to file a motion ASAP to set aside the decision of this hearing. Othervice we are facing a new trial. I reviewed referrals in the archive and contacted attorneys but didn't find one (those that I liked the most are not available now). Need somebody who is experienced, smart and professional and not just trying to drag the case to get more money, but actually fight for a client's rights. Will appreciate greatly your advice. Thanks a lot. desperate mom
Good luck to you. Hoping this helps...
After losing too much in what should have been a slam-dunk custody case, I deeply regret having trusted family court to be fair. While I played it honest and clean, the other parent had a lying, cheating, dirty lawyer. It's over for now, but I know that we will be back in court again. I want a tougher, smarter, better lawyer now, to be ready. Little did I know.
Best of luck. been there too
I am looking for a divorce lawyer for a tricky custody case. I have been given the name of Miriam Steinbock, but am curious whether there is any one out there that has worked with her? Would you recommend her? what was your experience with her? other great family lawyers out there? anon
Surprisingly (and it's a good thing I suppose) there are not many recommendations in the archives for lawyers for child custody issues. I'm seeking more.
The father of my kids and I were never married, and have been split up for more than a year. We've been doing okay negotiating custody arrangments on our own, however, sometimes things get heated between us, and I want to be prepared for going to court if we have to. In fact, I may actually choose to take him to court since he's never provided a penny for the kids and I'm the primary caretaker - and I'd like some financial support.
I have no idea what to look for in a lawyer, plus I don't know where to look. Dowtown Oakland would be an ideal location for me, if anyone has recommendations there, but of course most important is someone that's good.
Finding a mediator is not really an option, since he will not help pay for that. And it seems unfair for me to pay for all of someone who is to remain neutral and not represent me.
Any recommendations for lawyers and/or advice about choosing one would be greatly appreciated. Thanks anon
Overall, I am pleased with the results but I would just like to say a few things before you spend thousands of dollars.
You mentioned that you did not want to be the one to pay for a mediator because if you are paying you want to be represented fully. I do not know how much that costs, but I doubt that it will cost half as much as getting an attorney to represent you and going through the entire process. And, either way you will end up with a mediator and the judge will try and be as fair as possible.
Our case ended up costing us double what we thought it would. Yes, double what we agreed on in the beginning. The reasons could not have been predicted and are always in the judge's hands--meaning how long the trial takes, how much they put in the order after hearing (that the attorney then types up and files), and how many times the judge tells you to come back! Some judges require you to come back more than once to see how things are going and of course you have to pay the attorney for all of their time. It can be that you are paying this person for hours and hours of additional time. At $300 dollars per hour, which is what you may pay for a very qualified person, that is a lot of money! After spending many thousands of dollars I am quite certain the outcome would have been nearly the same had we just gone to a mediator on our own. Other parent did not pay a dime, and never has, yet now they have more than double the visitation.
Despite everything my attorney did, the other parent and I still had to go to mediation (within the court) and the mediatorís recommendations are almost always what the judge orders because the mediator is a neutral party and the only truly fair person. In addition, I did not get to choose who this person was and I would NOT have picked this mediator on my own.
Please consider all options carefully and speak to as many people as possible that have been through this. k
I'm a newly single mom who is looking for legal advice. I was
not married to my partner, but I would like to find out what the
legal parameters are for child custody issues. We have some
specific struggles I don't want to mention here, but I would like
to know what the current legal structure can do for us. I called
the offices of a couple of the attorneys listed from previous
years on this site, but I haven't heard back from them. Maybe
they are too busy? If someone can still validate any of the
previously mentioned lawyers I would still pursue them. Does
anyone have any current highly recommended legal contacts at this
time, previously mentioned at this site, or not previously
mentioned at this site? Thanks,
PS - translation: Does anyone recommend a lawyer for a single mom?? Thanks!
Though I would encourage you to consider investigating mediation as as an option, if the father of your child is willing, as it is generally less expense, faster, and much less divisive. Andrea
need someone to help with legal advice and filing custody paper for parent that needs to represent herself in court. w
You may not be aware that in California, under California Business and Professions Code 6450(a), a paralegal is to work only under the direction of a licensed attorney. Indeed, it is unlawful under the code for a paralegal to perform services for a consumer without an attorney supervising. I'm sure you could find someone, but I might question both the ethics and the qualifications of any paralegal who would be willing help you without an attorney. Many people refer to themselves as paralegals when they are not.
Also, if something goes wrong and you get bad advice, you will not be able to get the court to ''undo'' the problem, because you freely entered into an agreement with someone you knew not to be licensed or qualified. If you do this by yourself, or you hire an attorney, at least you will have recourse if something goes wrong.
Might I suggest, you check out the Volunteer Legal Services Program, where you can get free (or be directed to low cost) legal help? -- ethical friend
Hi all, I am looking for a strong mother's advocate attorney in San Francisco. I was just accepted to a phd program in Chicago but would only consider moving if I could take my children. I have sole physical custody with their father having 30% visitation. He has told me he will use all his resources to block my move even though I have assured him he could have the same percentage of time with them. I can't leave the children with him for many reasons which I won't post here. Thank you for any recommendations. I have worked hard to get into graduate school (and did of course apply to local schools). This has been a dream of mine but it's no dream without retaining primary custody of our children. hoping for a good outcome
I am looking for reccomendations for a really good divorce attorney in alameda county who has experience with complicated custody and/or financial cases. I am hoping for some one extremely knowledgeble, competent, creative (as far as coming up with solutions that will work best for our child), and who is also a supportive, empathetic listener. (I read through the posts, but did not find anything current). We have tried mediation, but my kid's father has not been able to honor agreements made in mediation. I am still hoping the case does not go to court, but I need to be prepared if it does. Any advice on what to do when a parent does not honor parenting agreements would be helpful as well. thank you! anon
I desperately need help of experienced family law attorney to help me with custody and visitation issues for my 2 years old child and to get a move-out order approved. I need to move out of state due to my job, but my ex-husband filed papers with the court prohibiting taking my child out of state. We separated with him when I was 6 month pregnant due to domestic abuse, and got a divorse 1 year ago. I have always had a sole custody of my daughter, but now my ex-husband suddenly requested 50%. He has a smart attorney and I also need one. Please recommend a knowledgeable experienced attorney (preferably a male because I was told that the judge who will handle our case doesn't like woman) to help us. Will greatly appreciate your help. Thanks a lot.
I read the posts about the spouses with NPD and one post that mentioned a great attorney that helped with visitation etc. (I would love to know who the attorney is....)The marriage I left was abusive though we never did get a diagnosis for him. (He left therapy after the therapist suggested anger mgt for him.... I have been through hell in the contra costa court system (essentially because my ex and his attorney lie so much, and I have an attorney that is not representing me well at all.) I presently have a temporary custody share that is not working for my kids, and I need to change it. I am reluctant to change attorneys however, as I have done so once already and consulted with 4. Changing attorneys drives up the cost and apparently may give the impression that I am difficult. I am very worried though about the direction this case is taking, and the time being lost. This is not a good situation for my kids who are very young. My youngest daughter has suffered immeasurably since the shared custody began. (Apparently courts presently like to assign 50/50 shares in most cases.) I am unwilling to accept this as I do not think it is in the best interests of my children. I am also concerned that my husband (ex) may leave the country with our kids and take them to the Middle East where he originated from. It is a constant and valid fear that I may not see them again if he disappears. I would like to be put in touch with a good attorney to handle custody. Somone who will not run up enormous bills unnecessarily and drag this out for years. I have already spent a fortune and almost lost everything. I would like to find someone who knows the custody evalution process and who is experienced in the very dysfunctional contra costa family law system. I need a strong person who can handle a real slime of an attorney and an ex who would like to eliminate me. (Quite literally.)I have read all the info in the archives and I have consulted with several attorneys. There is one I would like, Brigeda Banks in WC, but she doesn't want the case. (At least that's what I gathered when I never got past the receptionist on the phone, who politely gave me three other names.) Someone out there must have been in my place once surely? frazzled and worn out
To help you understand your situation and what the judge is thinking, you may want to check out the Nolo Press book on divorce in California. You can probably get it from the library. anonymous
I am having a really difficult time understanding why my attorney is trying so hard to lower my expectations in the custody case I've filed in Alameda County. Mom and I (apart, she since married, we never were) have a one year old son who I have spent a lot of time with (twice a week, one overnighter) and I want a shared parenting arrangement.
I am being told to lower my expectations, and that I'll likely get joint legal with sole physical to mom with some visitation. In her responsive pleadings, mom has made (false) allegations of abuse but the court shouldn't have too much trouble dispensing with them as unfounded. I am feeling very much alone and somewhat tortured because what I read in the family code and what I hear from my attorney are very different.
I am also very conflicted about whether we should be taking the passive ''high road'' approach to mom's allegations or responding aggressively.
Any words of education or recommendations for counsel that you'd like to share would be sincerely appreciated. - Daddy
I've been reading the postings regarding child custody attorneys, but was wondering if anyone can specifically recommend an attorney for child custody advice that is a staunch feminist dealing with lesbian and co-parenting issues. My sons father and I have been able to somewhat amicably raise our son in a co-parenting situation, but the father is becoming verbally and emotionallly abusive to me in front of my son which is completely unacceptable to me. I want to seek advice from an attorney that will help me to find out what my rights are and what kind of boundaries I can set. His father has a history of making agreements with me, even agreements set in ''couples'' therapy that he continues to break one after another. I do not want to go into the court system as I think often that becomes a lose-for all involved. But I do want to set up agreements that he will keep and that will work for the entire family. Mom in Emeryville
I have been involved in a custody and child support case for a few years and have been represented by a wonderful SF attorney whom is now retired. I interviewed a few attorneys and finally hired a prominent family law attorney at a major law firm in Contra Costa(about two months ago) who did not work for me. I am looking for a recommendation for an experienced Contra Costa (or Alameda) Family Law attorney, who will not charge more than $350 an hour, and who will be compassionate, RESPECTFUL, aggressive and willing to work hard on my case. I need to move quickly because, even though our next review hearing isn't for 6 months or so, I know it looks bad to switch attorneys in the middle of a custody case. Can anyone suggest such a person? Thank you. M.
I am a single mother who had a relationship for 6 years, ended it, then found out I was pregnant from our final encounter.
Due to the length of the relationship, and the fact that I really wanted my daughter to know who her father was, I asked that his name be put on the birth certificate, and promised him that I would make no demands, financially or otherwise, and that it was his decision how much he wanted to be involved.
He's been a wonderful ''part-time'' father, and my daughter loves him dearly, but I've now got issues with the fact that his name is on the birth certificate. Every time we leave the country (often, as my best friend lives in Vancouver, BC) I have to get a letter from him ''approving'' of our trip. To further complicate things, I am planning to move back to Canada in January, so I will need to get legal custody of her before we go.
It will really be a formality, as he has never paid (nor been asked to pay) a dime, so I'd like to find the cheapest solution possible.
Can anyone recommend an easy solution?
I'm looking for a recommendation for a mediator--maybe a lawyer, but not necessariuly--who can help my husband and I legalize our temporary child custody agreement. We need someone in downtown San Francisco--all the great recs on the website are for folks in berkeley or oakland. anon
My friend contacted him and found him to be brilliant and sweet and willing not only to talk to her, gratis, on the phone but also he required a much smaller retainer than the other attorneys who had, essentially, committed malpractice in their counsel and performance thus far. My attorney articulated Bob Walker as someone who was so skillful and yet got along with everyone, not further inflaming a historically inflamed situation.
I wish you luck; I know these custody conflicts can be hell for parent and child and anyone else.
My daughter is 12 years old and no longer wants to go to her dad's house for our joint custody agreement. We both feel he is very difficulty to live with and she is being emotionally and verbally abused (not all the time but often enough for her not to want to return). We have 50-50 custody time. I need any recommendations for a good lawyer or advice from anyone here whose dealt with similar issues. At this point, I am allowing her to stay here but her dad has threatened to come up "with the police" to take her home, etc. Help!
Your daughter's feeling that she is being emotionally and verbally abused is one that many teens and pre-teens feel from time to time. I am not suggesting that her feelings are invalid or not to be taken seriously. However, you must understand that the court will start with the assumption that such parent-child conflicts are within the range of normal. Essentially, anything short of abuse sufficient to call in Child Protective Services probably won't be viewed by the court as justify your violation of the current custody order. The question will be: Why didn't you come to court if you were that concerned? And you can be that her father's attorney will emphasize that question in painting you as a manipulative parent who has influenced her daugher to feel alienated from her father. I'm sure you'll get lots of recommendations for family lawyers. The Alameda County Bar Association lawyer referral service is at http://www.acbanet.org/lrs.htm . Look for a California State Bar Certified Specialist In Family Law wherever you find one. Good ones charge $300 - $350 per hour, and are worth it. If you need one hour of advice from a real expert to sort things out, call Sarah Leverett, 832-6600. She is the dean of the Alameda County family law bar and a truly kind and compassionate person. Good luck to all of you. Tim
From: anonymous I think the courts have recently sent down mixed signals regarding custody when it involves moving out of state for career purposes. You definitely have to contact a lawyer before you go anywhere. Divorce lawyer recommendations: Sylvia St. A. Keita 1736 Franklin Street, 10th Floor, Oakland 510 444 6222 tel 510 444 1704 fax Margaret Hill 2832 College Ave Berkeley 510 549 1800 Marjory Kaplan 436 14th St Ste 1417 Oakland 510 763 5611 ----------------- From: anonymous We went through a custody battle a couple of years ago (as many on this list may remember), so I can share my experience with you. In this area, I would recommend Margaret Hill as a lawyer. She used to be on the old Co-op plan, and she had a sliding scale at that time. I know that a friend recently called upon her in a child-support case, and that she is working for a $500 retainer (which is reasonable in the world of lawyers), and intends to ask for the father to pay court fees if it goes to court. I'm sure her phone number must be in the phone book. We consulted her about child support, but couldn't use her for the custody case because the case was seen in Yolo County. If by chance you need a recommendation for Yolo county, I'd be glad to give you our lawyer's name and phone number. For reference, we paid our lawyer a $1000 retainer, with a total cost of about $4000 for the custody case. But that was in Davis, not Berkeley.
I've just rec'd info. about the following new (2nd ed.) Nolo Press workbook in an email from amazon.com. [You probably already know that you can sign up to receive email reports on new (or just interesting) books in various subject categories.] It's probably best for the least terrible situations. As the summary points out, the parents have to be able to work together.
>"Child Custody: Building Agreements that Work," by >Mimi E. Lyster. You'll find this book at >http://www.amazon.com/parenting-and-childbirth
[A personal note: as far as amazon.com is concerned, my advice as an ex-bookstore employee is to read the reviews & write the titles down and then go to the nearest independent bookstore to buy the books. Of course, it's not the least expensive route...]
I have taken in my 14 year old niece and would like some advice on legal guardianship. Her parents are divorced and are not contributing to her living expenses. I would like to add her to my health insurance and apply for any financial assistance available while she is under my care at least until her parents can get their act together. Does anyone out there know what I can do to seek legal guardianship?
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