San Jose Family Law Attorney Comments on Child Custody
Divorce can be an emotionally taxing process for everyone involved. It is often difficult for both
parties to deal with the legal issues that arise in a clear-headed and objective manner. This is
where a San Jose divorce attorney can be of assistance.
Child custody disputes are usually the most emotionally charged part of any divorce. You need
a San Jose Family Lawyer to help you deal with your legal issues and make clear decisions
regarding the best interest of your children. The benefits of having a good and experienced San
Jose family lawyer go far beyond a mere capacity to recite to you the current legal rules and
procedures. You will need someone who has seen it before, who can tell you what to expect,
and who is not weighted down by all those emotionally charged questions about whether you
are doing enough for your children and/or whether visitation time granted to the other party is
somehow the Court’s disapproval of you as a parent (it almost never is).
California Courts lean towards joint custody arrangements whenever possible and believe it is in
the best interest of children to have frequent and regular interaction with both parents after the
Thomas Chase Stutzman is a San Jose family law attorney who works with his clients to create
a Parenting Plan to address legal and physical custody, as well as a visitation schedule,
including holidays. Legal custody entails parental rights and responsibilities regarding day-to-
day decisions, as well as issues such as providing each other access to the children’s medical
and school records and keeping one another informed of updated contact information. Physical
custody deals with the amount of time the children will spend with each parent, as well as
sharing major holidays. The custodial time can be specified as to the date, time and location for
the exchange of the children.
While there is no specific age in which a child can decide for themselves which parent they wish
to live with, the Judge may take the child’s wishes into consideration if they feel the child is of
“sufficient age and maturity” to voice their opinion. The Legislature has tried to draw this line at
age 14; however, it remains to be seen how closely that estimate of maturity will be followed.
Beginning January 1, 2012, a child 14 years or older can be given the opportunity to address
the Court directly regarding both visitation and custody, unless the presiding Judge states on
the record their reasoning behind denying this request on the basis that they feel it would not be
in the child’s best interest.
There will probably always be a sound and strong argument that a child testifying to the Court
about which parent they want to be with can be interpreted by both parents as the child taking
sides. Both the feeling of empowerment on the part of the chosen parent and the feeling of
betrayal on the part of the other parent will be clearly contrary to the child’s best interests. The
possibility that the child might figure out that they can bargain with both parents, and try to work
out their own best deal should also create substantial concerns about how the process of trying
the essentially extort their own parents will affect the development of their character and moral
code. Worse, any promises made by either parent in an effort to be chosen by the child, which
promises are not kept, could also lead to the same sort of disrespect and cynicism now rightfully
held out for elected politicians.
With the clear negatives caused by any protracted custody dispute it is easy to understand why
the Courts in Santa Clara County will try very hard to get the parents to reach a settlement of
these issues. San Jose Family Law Attorney Thomas Chase Stutzman has over 35 years of
experience in divorce and family law issues in California. He is a top-notch San Jose Divorce
Lawyer and is committed to providing his clients with diligent and zealous advocacy in their
divorce proceedings. The Law Offices of Thomas Chase Stutzman are cognizant of the
sensitive nature of dealing with family law issues from different cultures and as such they
employ a bilingual staff, including a paralegal fluent in Mandarin. Contact the Law Office of
Thomas Chase Stutzman at 408 294-4600 (www.tomstutzman.com) for all your family law
needs. The first 30 minutes of initial consultation is free of charge.